British workers rights over foreign workers when seeking employment

Unemployment in the United Kingdom following the economic downturn

Following the economic downturn first experienced in 2008 there has been an increase in unemployment in the United Kingdom. Many companies have had to close entirely whereas many others have had to downsize bringing the inevitable redundancies and loss of employment. As a consequence of this there is a high level of individuals within the United Kingdom currently looking for work.

Job Centre and right to job seekers allowance

When an individual is unemployed they will be able to sign on at the job centre whereby they will become eligible for state benefits in the form of job seekers allowance. A condition in that individual being provided with this money is that they are actively looking for work. Hence the term job seekers allowance.

Are foreign workers entitled to this allowance?

Foreign workers who are working in the United Kingdom legally will be eligible for this job seekers allowance. Accordingly individuals who have a right to reside in the United Kingdom will be able to claim job seekers allowance while looking for work in the UK. Under the European Union legislation relation to free movement of workers there is a requirement that when an individual moves freely between European Union Member States and is out of work they will be able to claim state benefits from that European Union Member State.

Are British workers given any priority over foreign workers when looking for work?

The UK Government in 2009 adopted proposals from the Migration Advisory Committee which state that all job vacancies must be advertised to resident workers in Jobcentre Plus four weeks before foreign job seekers can apply for the job.

Are there any other changes which have been brought about by the acceptance of these proposals?

The proposals also state that the qualification period for skilled foreign workers who wish to work in Britain shall be extended from 6 to 12 months.

What does this mean?

This means that the foreign worker will have to work for their employer in the foreign country for 12 months before he or she can request a transfer to Britain. However, with the acceptance of the proposals the minimum salary for foreign skilled workers will increase from £17,000 to £20,000.

Does this qualification period apply to individuals from inside the European Union?

This qualification period only applies to individuals from foreign countries outside of the European Union. To impose a condition stopping individuals from inside the European Union to come and work in the United Kingdom would constitute a breach of the free movement of workers.

Why have the proposals been adopted by the UK Government?

The proposals were adopted by the UK Government in order to try and prevent the increasing problem of unemployment in the United Kingdom. If jobs are first offered to British citizens then this will improve the problem of the number of British citizens without a job.

Furthermore if the qualification period for skilled foreign workers is increased this may decrease the number being able to start work in skilled jobs in the United Kingdom with the potential of any skilled jobs which become available being provided to British citizens.

The whole crux of the proposals is to ease the number of British citizens currently without work.

When will the proposals be adopted?

The proposals will be adopted during 2010.