By Enrique Rubio
London, Jun 29 (EFE).- With just one day until the deadline for European Union citizens to file for post-Brexit settled status, the Conservative Party government has a simple message: British companies must start covering unskilled jobs with local workers.
The UK immigration minister Kevin Foster was unequivocal that the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson would not relax post-Brexit immigration rules to ease potential staff shortage
“I think that many UK taxpayers who are still paying the bill for literally millions of people to be on furlough and seeing the many more people claiming our key unemployment benefit universal credit would be a bit surprised if our first port of call for filling vacancies in the economy at this time was immigration,” the minister said.
“So I think what I’d say to businesses is: the era of being able to recruit overseas at the minimum wage in an unlimited way has come to end.”
“I represent a constituency that has a very heavy hospitality interest and business sector, and we have over 7,000 people still on furlough, many from the hospitality sector and 1,500 people on benefits, I think it’s safe to say that if people are looking at immigration as the first port of call to fill vacancies, I think they need to think again,” the minister said.
A number of UK business owners in industries such as hospitality and transport consulted by Efe have complained that they face a shortfall on staff under the new immigration rules.
Asked whether the government would consider relaxing the rules, Foster added: “Free movement has come to an end. I’ll accept it will be an adjustment for some businesses, but we’re very clear that immigration must work as part of our UK-led market.
“When millions of people are still on furlough and we still have many more people claiming the key unemployment benefits than we did in March last year, I think many people would be quite surprised to hear that the solution to recruitment issues is to recruit overseas, I think many people would be actually quite stunned.”
He emphasized that all eligible EU citizens who have filed for settled status would have their rights protected under the new system. EFE