UK employers seeking cheap labour from Eastern Europe are getting around anti-discrimination laws by including a requirement for foreign languages such as Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian in their adverts, it has emerged.
Dozens of adverts on the British government’s Universal Jobsearch website have been found discriminate against British applicants on a language basis, including vacancies for cleaners, decorators, security guards and estate agents, meaning that they are in direct competition with unemployed British people looking to get a foot on the employment ladder.
The site was originally set up to make it easier for unemployed people to get back into work as those receiving out-of-work benefits face sanctions if they are not seen to be actively looking for work.
John Duffy, 52, an unemployed ex-soldier from Surrey told the Daily Express that he had hoped to apply for a painting and decorating job only to find that the advert called for someone fluent in Polish.
When he pointed this out to the Jobcentre Plus, the government agency which steers unemployed people back into work and rules on benefits sanctions, the advisor told him to ring the employer who had placed the advert to complain.
“It left me disillusioned but it’s just the way the country is being run,” he said. “It’s been soul-destroying. You feel as if you are banging your head against a brick wall.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there were 250,000 more non-British EU nationals working in the UK during the second quarter of 2015 than there were one year earlier. At the same time, the number of British people in employment rose by 84,000, meaning that fully 75 percent of new vacancies had been taken up by non-British EU nationals living in the UK.
UK Independence Party MEP Jane Collins commented: “Because European Union (EU) rules forbid people openly discriminating against workers by saying ‘only people from certain countries can apply’ instead we see stipulations such as needing to speak a foreign language to do a job in Britain.
“It may be considered within the rules but in my eyes it is pure and simple discrimination against British workers who have been suffering since we opened the door to the whole of Eastern Europe in 2004.”
Among the foreign-language adverts place on the site were postings for security officers in London at £7-£8 an hour which asked for fluency in Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Russian or Bulgarian; a school cleaning vacancy in Oxford which asked for Romanian; recruitment consultants in Nuneaton with Polish as a language requirement; and an advert for warehouse workers in Hampshire which said Eastern European languages would be “useful.”
One advert, for a £12,000 role at an estate agency in Bradford, West Yorkshire said “speaking and understanding Polish would be a massive benefit”.
Conservative MP Philip Hollobone said the only answer is to leave the EU, saying: “Whatever happened to British jobs for British workers? When ordinary British job vacancies can only be filled by people who speak an eastern European language, it’s clear things are now getting completely out of hand.
“The only way to stop this madness is for all of us to vote to leave the EU when we get our one and only chance to do so in the referendum.”
UKIP leader Nigel Farage commented: “This is yet another example of how our own citizens are once again suffering due to the foolish stupidity of the pro-EU political class.
“If we want a country where the British people are put first, where we look after our own and ensure that those living in our country are given the best possible chance of earning a decent living then we must once again become a self-governing, independent nation that controls its own borders.
“That can only happen once we leave the European Union.”