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Monday, October 10, 2016

Tories in disarray over immigration checks

The Guardian reports that the government has abandoned plans to force businesses to reveal how many foreign staff they employ, following widespread condemnation and accusations that the policy was akin to tattooing workers “with numbers on their forearms”:

Justine Greening, the education secretary, announced on Sunday that companies will not be made to publish the data as suggested by the home secretary, Amber Rudd, during the Conservative party conference.

She said the information would be confidential and instead used by the government to identify skills shortages, rather than to “name and shame” businesses that rely on foreign employees.

The paper says that David Cameron’s former communications director Craig Oliver has described the announcement that the data will no longer be made public as a “managed retreat”, it seems more akin to ministers in disarray.

The defence secretary, Michael Fallon also said that the Government could “absolutely rule out” asking companies to list, name, publish or identify in any way the number of foreign workers they have.

It is possible that the remarks of former Cameron advisor, Steve Hilton, that ministers might as well announce that “foreign workers will be tattooed with numbers on their forearms” has hit home as no doubt has the widespread condemnation of the policy as repugnant and divisive by politicians across the political spectrum.

The resistance of industry to the proposal as both impractical and immoral must also be a factor. but one cannot escape the feeling that making policy on the hoof in this way is not the way to run the country and that the whole episode has been shambolic. If only there was an effective official opposition to expose the incompetence of Ministers on this issue.
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