Responding to reports that the Government will force companies to list how many foreign workers they employ, Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:

“The Home Secretary’s suggestion that businesses should reveal how many foreign workers they employ is divisive and risks demonising companies with migrants in their workforce. At a time of increasing tension and uncertainty around migrant labour, the Government needs to be sending positive messages about the contribution that migrant workers make to the UK economy, and encouraging a more balanced debate with businesses about their future workforces.

“Contrary to the myth that employers recruit migrant workers to avoid training UK staff, our research shows that organisations that employ migrant workers are also more likely to invest in training and development for their workforce.

“Greater transparency in workforce makeup can be a good thing, and the CIPD has long encouraged businesses to have open and honest assessments about their own diversity, in order to correctly identify talent gaps and areas for improvement. However, a Government-mandated list designed to name and shame organisations is entirely inappropriate and sends the wrong message about tackling a complex issue of skills shortages across the workforce.

“In the wake of Brexit, businesses need to think more strategically, particularly as retaining staff becomes ever more important, but they need a long term strategy from Government that seeks to set out a coherent plan to tackle the longstanding issues around productivity and skills in our workforce, rather than a series of individual targets designed to grab headlines. It is crucial Government works with employers on any changes to immigration or skills policy to ensure the UK remains open for business and ensure organisations can continue to access the skills they need to grow.”

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