From the Independent
Companies will be forced to train a British apprentice for every foreign worker they take on if Labour win the next election, party leader Ed Miliband has said.
Speaking in Brighton, where Labour is holding its party conference, Mr Miliband said the proposal was designed to reduce low-skill immigration and help create a “high wage economy”.
The party's plan would compel firms that hire workers from outside the EU to take on a similar number of apprentices from the UK. It claims that the policy would create up to 125,000 high quality apprenticeships over the next parliament.
“In our first year in office we will legislate for an immigration bill which has secure control of our borders, cracks down on exploitation of workers coming here undercutting workers already here, and says to big companies that bring in people from outside the EU that they can do that, within a cap, but they have got to train the next generation,” Mr Miliband said.
I'm not sure if Ed actually said it, but companies can't be forced to train a British apprentice. That would be against EU law. He could force companies to train up an apprentice from within the EU.
But how is this going to reduce low-skill immigration?
Let's imagine you're a software company and you want to bring over an experienced guy from India, especially someone with some rare skills. We're honestly going to force companies to spend money training up a software development apprentice, despite the fact that it then costs that company thousands, perhaps 10s of thousands to do so (after which the person can leave)? Reality: the work will be subcontracted out to India instead.
Or if you're a restaurant and bring over a bangladeshi chef, are we saying they have to now hire another member of staff, even though they only have jobs for one more?
If we want to have more people in jobs with good skills, the solution is as follows-
- Replace benefits with CI, which will encourage people to take jobs.
- Introduce LVT which will encourage more companies to set up in cheaper parts of the UK rather than offshore.
- Convert the old polytechnics back into polytechnics, remove their ability to grant degrees, and instead run more work related courses (e.g. C&G, BTEC) that provide the skills that employers want.
- Link part-time work and polytechnic education. So, either people can go to poly and get a course, or can get a job where 2 days a week, they go to college and learn skills that can be brought into the job.