- Foreign born worker number jumps 181,000 in a year – or 495 a day
- Minister says firms only taking on foreign workers is ‘unacceptable’
- Overall unemployment at highest level since 1994
- Business leaders say they prefer those born abroad
- Government scheme to offer incentives for firms to hire apprentices
Official figures this week reveal that 500 foreigners landed a job in Britain every day over the past year while the number of UK-born workers fell and unemployment hit a 17-year high.
The Office for National Statistics said the number of British-born workers has crashed by 311,000 in a year, equal to more than 850 a day. But in the same period, the number of foreign-born employees jumped by 181,000 – or 495 a day.
Ministers admitted the situation was ‘unacceptable’, although bosses warned that many young British workers were too lazy and too bad at basics such as punctuality to be worth hiring. But experts said the latest figures highlight the urgency of tackling the immigration problem.
Earlier this week Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister, was asked about why one branch of the sandwich chain Pret A Manger appeared to be staffed entirely by foreigners.
He told Sky News: ‘It is certainly a situation that I find unacceptable. Of course, this country has benefited from people coming in from other countries to work.
‘But I want to see more young people in positions in this country and I want … to see them getting jobs that become vacant, rather than people coming into the UK.’
It comes as unemployment among those aged 16 to 24 has ballooned to its highest level on record, topping one million for the first time.
Overall unemployment is currently 2.62million, its highest since 1994. The number of employees has dropped by 305,000 between July and September, the largest fall since 1992. Last month, however, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits rose by just 5,000, indicating, that many of those out of work refuse to claim because they expect to find a job again soon.
Dr John Philpott, chief economic adviser to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said the general picture meant it already felt like a second downturn had begun for millions of workers.
‘This is a miserable time for UK workers as well as the jobless,’ he said ‘The anaemic “jobs-light/pay-tight” recovery itself feels just like a recession.’
Sir Andrew Green, of the Migrationwatch think-tank, described the figures as ‘stunning’.
He said: ‘The immigration lobby can no longer pretend that these massive levels of immigration have no significant effect on the job prospects for British workers who are now unemployed.’
The crisis facing British-born workers comes after business leaders and lobby groups have warned they prefer foreign workers. The British Chambers of Commerce said many school leavers and graduates with ‘fairly useless’ degrees are unemployable because they lack basic skills.
Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said the fault does not lie with the young person, but their education. ‘There may be a course in underwater basket weaving, but that does not mean anybody will actually want to employ you at the end of it,’ he said.
A report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, meanwhile, said bosses preferred foreign workers because they had a more ‘positive’ attitude.
Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, warned recently that Britain was in ‘the last chance saloon’ if it wants to get British people off benefits and into the workplace.
Ministers in his department are understood to be ‘concerned’ at the figures. ‘It’s not a pretty picture,’ said one source. ‘It makes it very difficult to do welfare reform when there are so many people coming in.’
A new Government scheme, announced yesterday, will offer a £1,500 cash incentive to small firms who hire an apprentice for the first time. Under the proposal, companies will be forced to educate the young person in English and maths to a level at which they would be able to pass a GCSE in both subjects.
Why bosses hire foreign staff
The number of foreign employees at a leading firm of plumbers has doubled over the past two years because British workers lack the right work ethic.
Charlie Mullins, the 52-year-old founder of Pimlico Plumbers, said Britons would ‘rather be footballers than do an honest day’s work’.
Mr Mullins, whose firm has 200 staff, said he was forced to employ foreign-born people because they work harder than their British counterparts.
‘We’re increasingly employing foreign workers. They have the right attitude and are prepared to work harder,’ he said.
‘The younger British generation who come in for interviews are often sent by the benefit people and have no desire to work.
‘It’s a case of “won’t work”, not “can’t work”. They feel as if the country owes them a living.’
Organic Greengrocer Keith Abel was forced to employ foreign-born workers because his popular firm, which delivers organic groceries, has struggled to find young British people to fill vacant positions.
He said some young Britons were trapped in the benefits system and did not want to get up early to do a job for £7-an-hour when they could rely on Government handouts.
Mr Abel, who started Abel and Cole more than 20 years ago, said: ‘We’ve got a fantastic workforce, we’ve got extremely hard-working people.
‘It’s just a bit of a tragedy that a considerable and significant number of them are from Eastern Europe and not the local communities given the rates of unemployment in the local area.’
He said his company could not recruit young British people to work for £7.25-an-hour as delivery drivers and that some young British people on benefits would rather receive handouts than work.
‘People who are in the benefits system struggle with the concept of getting out of bed at 5.30 to do a six o’clock until three o’clock shift on £7 an hour when the actual additional income they’d be taking home is initially very small,’ he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
‘The point is, the better-paid work comes for the people who start on the lower-paid work. There must be a solution whereby the Government is able to wean people off benefits rather than shut them off completely when somebody goes into a job.’
Mr Abel, 47, whose company turned over £30million last year, also said there was a reluctance among young people to start at the bottom and work their way up.
He said: ‘People are not prepared to start with what they deem to be menial jobs. Terry Leahy, the head of Tesco, famously started stacking shelves. Everyone starts at the bottom.’
He said he would happily find roles for young British people who were out of work. ‘If people who are on the unemployment register want to ask us for jobs, we’d interview them in exactly the same way we interview anyone else,’ he added.
‘Business people are in there to do business. Politicians are in there to solve problems like unemployment.’
Hotel owner Terry Rodgers said that while he is horrified that more than a million young people in Britain are unemployed, I’m afraid I’m not at all surprised. After working in the catering industry for 16 years – many of those as a manager seeking to employ staff – I have come to the sad conclusion that many young people simply do not want to work.
Of course they say they want a job. They send off job applications and turn up for interviews. But when it comes down to hard graft, they are simply not interested.
The truth is that young people think the state owes them a living.
Underpinning everything is a welfare state which creates a culture where no one worries whether they have a job or not because there’s always free money from the Government to fall back on.
Also, brought up in school and home environments where criticism is practically non-existent, when they face the tough, challenging world of work, they are unable to cope.
To hear them complain about the shortage of jobs you would think they are desperate to work, willing to walk over hot coals to get a job. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
During my career, I have interviewed and employed many young people. And it shames me to say this but it was often easier to teach English to foreign applicants than it is to try to instill the right work ethic in our own English-speaking youth.
Time and again I see young people turn up for interviews wearing grubby jeans or tracksuits. They smoke and talk on the phone to their friends.
Many of them come with their partner or a parent (some even send their parents on ahead while they have a lie-in). What’s more, a lot don’t seem interested in the post at all – having turned up just so I can sign their Jobseekers’ Allowance form which means they can continue to receive welfare benefits.
Of those who do inquire seriously about the jobs, they often demand preposterous conditions. Many say they don’t want to work weekends or evenings because they want to go out with their friends. One applicant said the half-hour walk to work was too far.
One wretched soul told me he couldn’t work on Friday nights or Saturday mornings because he would be out with friends on Friday evenings and hung-over on Saturday morning! And they expect me to reward their commitment with a job?
Rather than interviewees doing their best to persuade me that I should employ them, the roles have become absurdly reversed with me having to persuade them to take the job.
Already I have had to let eight people go – and we have only been open since March – because they didn’t have the right attitude. One phoned in sick on his second day and never came back. Another lasted two weeks then she said the job was not for her because she missed Friday nights out with friends.
Another youngster was training for an NVQ qualification in our fine-dining team but lacked any ambition and decided life would be easier if she returned to her old job at a pub, where food was just heated in a microwave.
And I sacked one employee for phoning in sick, then posting pictures of herself at a social event on the same day on Facebook.
How then have we got ourselves into this ridiculous position?
Schools must take part of the blame. They teach subjects such as media studies, which give them false hopes about the type of jobs they can secure. There is a limit to the number of people who can work on The X Factor.
The tragedy is that so many youngsters seem devoid of real-life experience. This is where parents are at fault. From what I have seen, many parents have the same disengaged, uncommitted and welfare-sodden attitudes as their children.
Among many, there seems to be an utter absence of any sense of responsibility, work ethic or pride in contributing to society.
I recently gave a talk to a careers night at a local college. The youngsters stood slouched, hands in pockets staring up at the ceiling, some of them whistling under their breath. Not a single parent present chastised them for such unacceptable disrespect to an adult who had given up their time to address them.
There are those, however, who will do anything to secure a job.
I once interviewed a young man in Staffordshire. He had taken a ferry, train and bus from the Isle of Man to make the appointment. He was wearing a suit and tie.
I gave him a job as a waiter and he’s now an events manager for a university. You’ve probably guessed – he is foreign (having been born in Indonesia).
One of the best employees I ever had was a young Turk who barely spoke any English. He was so keen that I gave him a backroom job.
After infuriating weeks when other British employees had called in sick or turned up late, I put the Turk on the frontline. He was polite and friendly, happily juggling the job with two afternoons of English classes each week. He now manages one of the bars in Dublin Airport.
Job opportunities are certainly here and I want to give them to young people in my local area, but I’ve hit a wall. In desperation this week, I asked friends in the catering industries in Spain, Morocco and Holland to recommend any staff.
The first step to raise standards in our home-grown young is to admit that, for many, unemployment has become a personal choice to avoid hard work – and not an inescapable trap. Source: Daily Mail.
This year government introduced a cap on non-EU migration and has restricted students in private colleges from working.
Employers looking for staff, for instance in the care industry, are increasingly turning to EU member workers from Eastern Europe.
However, not all EU members have the same rights to work in the UK and getting it wrong could result in a hefty fine.
Employers are often unaware of the distinct difference between ‘A8’ nationals (Polish, Latvian, Slovakian, Czechs, Hungarians, Slovenians Lithuanians and Estonians), who joined the EU in 2004 and more recent members from Bulgaria and Romania. Although both groups have the same rights to freely enter the UK, they do not enjoy the same rights to work, or free movement of labour.
Despite the fact that they are EU members, when it comes to employment Bulgarian and Romanian citizens do not have the same rights as other Europeans, for instance from Poland, Slovakia or other A8 Accession countries. See: Free Movement of EU nationals explained.
British businesses would like to recruit Romanian, Bulgarian and other European workers, as the Government’s cap on migration, combined with newly imposed restrictions on Tier 2 and Tier 4 routes, has made it increasing difficult to recruit non-EU staff (on work permits and student visas).
Leading NVQ and vocational course provider Majestic College has seen a large increase in the number of students from Bulgaria and Romania this year. The college helps students through the yellow card process and arranges work placements for NVQ/QCF Health and Social Care learners.
Majestic College administrator Joanna said they have no problems arranging paid work placements for Bulgarian and Romanian students as care sector employers are desperate for staff. Joanna said:
“As soon as a student enrols on the course we are able to arrange a job subject to yellow card.
“Employers are willing to take them on because they cannot find enough local people to do the work.”
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:
Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org