New measures to make it more difficult for firms to recruit foreign workers are set to be tabled by the government.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd revealed today the Home Office will consult on plans to curb immigration, focussing on the changes to the rules on foreign workers and students.
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Rudd said she would be “examining whether we should tighten the test companies have to take before recruiting from abroad.”
She said companies were “getting away” with not training British workers and tougher recruitment tests were needed.
A number of retailers rely on foreign workers, particularly in their warehouse operations.
In July, Next boss Lord Wolfson,who campaigned for Brexit, warned that reducing immigration would damage the UK economy.
But Rudd said today only a substantial cut in immigration could help “change the tide of public opinion… so once again immigration is something we can all welcome”.
Students on “low-quality courses” might also face tougher rules on entering the UK.
Former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron once said it planned to cap net immigration at the tens of thousands.
The Institute of Directors raised questions over Rudd’s plans. “It was frustrating to hear the Home Secretary sticking to the arbitrary ‘tens of thousands’ target, which has no connection to the skills the UK needs or the actual impacts of migration,” said the IoD’s head of employment and skills policy Seamus Nevin.
He added: “Amber Rudd all but admitted that it was an impossible target to meet, so holding herself to it can only continue to undermine trust in politicians on this issue.”