On 29 July 2014, the Government announced its intention to “create a level playing field for workers by requiring employment agencies and employment businesses to ensure that all job vacancies are advertised in Great British and in English” and published a consultation entitled ‘Prohibiting employment agencies and employment businesses from advertising jobs exclusively in other EEA countries’.
Since the Points Based System began in 2008, and even prior to then under the old Work Permit system, employers seeking to sponsor non-EEA nationals have, unless an exemption applies, been required to demonstrate that they have tried to find a suitable EEA/UK worker for the role before sponsoring a non-EEA candidate. Indeed, under the current system jobs advertised via JobCentre Plus are automatically advertised to candidates across the EEA.
The Government’s aim is to ensure that changes to the legislation that governs recruitment in the UK, namely the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 (‘the Conduct Regulations’), are made in order to achieve its objectives.
Specifically, the Government is proposing to amend the Conduct Regulations to include a new regulation (subject to a defence) which would require employment agencies and employment businesses to ensure that all jobs that are based in Great Britain are advertised in Great Britain. The regulation would not ban employment agencies and employment businesses from advertising in other EEA countries but it would require them to ensure that if a job is advertised in another EEA country, it is simultaneously advertised in Great Britain.
Resident Labour Market Test for sponsorship under Tier 2
In order to fulfill the requirements of the Resident Labour Market Test required under Tier 2, each position would have to be advertised in the UK for a minimum of 28 days through two separate media. One of them must be the Job Centre Plus online platform. Only if the sponsor is unable to fill a position locally within this period would they be free to advertise overseas. Evidence that the sponsor has complied with the new requirements would need to be provided alongside an application for a visa by a non-EEA applicant.
Further detail about the specific proposals along with information on how to respond to the consultation can be found in the consultation document.
The Government has also published an impact assessment setting out the rationale for intervention and the evidence base.
The consultation is due to close on 2 September 2014.