A government consultation on plans to amend the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, which regulate the private recruitment industry, has closed this week.

The government’s amendment purports to “create a level playing field” for work-seekers by ensuring that employment agencies and employment businesses advertise all job vacancies in Great Britain. The aim is to stop vacancies being exclusively advertised in other European Economic Area (EEA) countries without them also being advertised in Great Britain.

Ill thought-through and impractical

Thompsons Solicitors has serious concerns about the proposed amendment and its impracticalities. Iain Birrell, Employment Rights Manager at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “More employment in the UK is welcome but this proposal is populist and ill thought-through and won’t work in practice.

“The proposals leave too many questions unanswered to be taken seriously. Does it apply to offshore jobs? Does it apply to non-GB agencies? It insists on advertising in English but ignores Welsh. The draft regulations apparently only apply to Great Britain and not the whole of the UK and yet both terms are used.

Absence of solid evidence

“Not only are there holes in the thought process around this proposal but there is a complete absence of solid evidence that these changes are needed. The government’s own impact assessment concedes that the limited information available suggests that very few recruitment firms exclusively advertise GB jobs outside the UK which means that these proposals are tokenistic and simply aimed at pandering to the anti-foreigner sentiment in the ranks of the Tory Party. Unsurprisingly, the Lib Dem minister in charge of the proposals is complicit in allowing his department to be used as a vehicle for the Conservatives’ agenda.

“If the government really wants to help workers in the UK have a fair crack at jobs then strengthening the powers of the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EASI), which is currently a toothless body, so they can ensure that existing regulations are properly enforced, would be far more effective. ”

The government’s proposals on ‘prohibiting the advertising of jobs exclusively in other EEA countries’ can be read here.