77% Say Brits Should Have First Shot At Vacancies


Employment, Visas/Work Permits

The government plans an immigration system that WEAKENS work visa rules for citizens of 80% of the world’s countries while scrapping the sensible limit on numbers – the opposite of restoring control.

However, the public say that getting UK people back to work after the crisis should take priority over helping employers to hire from abroad.

77% of respondents to a Deltapoll survey (commissioned by Migration Watch UK) said government should ensure that bosses prioritise hiring UK workers instead of enabling more overseas recruitment.

Only 8% want Ministers to make it easier to hire more people from abroad – something that often occurs at lower wages and with poorer terms and conditions.

UK nurses are often undercut as those from overseas are paid a fifth less. Even so we turned away over 20,000 UK applicants for nursing courses last year.

The sample size of the poll was 1,556 and the poll was conducted from 14 to 15 May.

The result comes as the government moves ahead with a plan to take away your right to apply for jobs first before they are offered outside the UK.

Under the ‘Resident Labour Market Test’, employers are obliged to check that no suitably-qualified worker exists in the UK before filling vacancies from abroad.

Another Deltapoll, conducted among the marginal Red Wall seats in the North of England, Midlands and Wales in the Summer of 2020, found that 78% of respondents supported this provision.

Our competitor countries have similar rules in place.

In wanting to scrap this safeguard, Ministers are clearly out-of-kilter [and out-of-touch] with public opinion at a time of major economic difficulty.

77% of respondents surveyed this month believed that ‘with record numbers of people unable to work as usual, the government should ensure that employers prioritise getting British workers back to work instead of making it easier to bring in more employees from abroad’.

When faced with the option, only 8% indicated government would be right to scrap safeguards so firms can binge on cheaper overseas labour.

Similar results hold across supporters of different parties, across age groups and across regions:

  • 89% of 2019 Conservative voters said the focus should be on getting British workers back to work, as did 71% of 2019 Labour voters and 72% of 2019 Liberal Democrat voters
  • 71% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 said it should be the focus, along with 91% of those aged 65 and over.
  • 72% of Remain voters agreed, as did 86% of Leave voters. 
  • 79% of those in the North said this, as did 72% in the Midlands, 86% in Wales, 82% in Scotland, 81% in the South of England and 64% in London.

Commenting on the poll result, Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:
“With unemployment claims already at two million and rising, the public are virtually united in wanting the interests of the UK workforce to be put first.

“It is not too late for the government to rethink its immigration plan so that, when the crisis is finally behind us, British workers will have the first shot at new vacancies.”

28th May 2020

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