BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - The British government will consider whether to make it more difficult for companies to hire foreign workers under a new drive to cut immigration set out by interior minister Amber Rudd on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said the June 23 vote to leave the European Union was a sign that immigration was too high. Of the 31.7 million people in work in Britain at the end of June, 5.4 million were born outside the country, official data shows.
Rudd told the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, central England, that while she still wanted to attract the “brightest and the best” to the country, she wanted to incentivise employers to train and hire local workers too.
“It’s only by reducing the numbers back down to sustainable levels that we can change the tide of public opinion so once again immigration is something we can all welcome,” she said.
Options likely to come under review include whether employers should have to set out the steps they have taken to foster a pool of local candidates.
They may also have to publish what proportion of their workforce is international and set out what impact they expect their foreign recruitment to have on the local labour workforce, the Conservative Party said.
“We will shortly be consulting on the next steps needed to control immigration,” Rudd said. “We will be looking across work and study routes. This will include examining whether we should tighten the test companies have to take before recruiting from abroad.”
Rudd said the test should ensure that people were moving to Britain to fill gaps in the labour market and “not taking jobs British people could do”.
The government said it would also examine whether it needed to tighten student immigration rules.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Andy Bruce, writing by Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison