Alan Johnson’s proposals miss the mark…
The Daily Telegraph reports that Alan Johnson will;
“instruct British companies to advertise all jobs through UK jobcentres for one month before being allowed to look overseas. Previously, firms were only required to advertise locally for two weeks before casting their net wider to countries outside the European Union.
The Home Secretary will also announce that the period for skilled foreign workers to become eligible to work here is being doubled from six months to a year.”
At least Johnson’s proposals show that there are ways to address the concerns of those unemployed contra to the exclusionary policies of the British National Party. Immigration is overwhelmingly a force for good and remains so; the cause of peoples misery is clearly not ‘rampant’ immigration but other more subtle factors.
These can be seen in the limitations to what he is proposing because a number of issues needs to be addressed like skills deficits (investment in education and training) to put British workers on a level playing field. Also, the fact is that companies use foreign workers as a cheap source of labour (something that is not the fault of the foreign workers in question) and this is something that Johnson’s proposals do little to address. It then becomes less about the immigration system in question and more about the freedom that companies are given to attack jobs and drive down wages by using immigrant labour (something that leads to the unfair scapegoating mentioned above).
However, we won’t hold our breath waiting for a Labour government to address these issues. It would much rather pretend that the problems faced by unemployed workers are solely down to the immigration system rather than market mechanisms which means that the jobs market is not a level playing field.