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Employment Law

Legal guidance - compliance - software

26 OCT 2015

Government consultation launched on regulation of recruitment agencies and overseas recruitment

Government consultation launched on regulation of recruitment agencies and overseas recruitment
Helen Hughes
Solicitor, Veale Wasbrough Vizards

Following a consultation issued by the condition in January 2013, the government has now published a new consultation on changes to legislation which regulates employment agencies and employment businesses.

Simplification of existing legislation

The government has suggested changes aimed at simplifying the existing legislation.

Proposals include removing the requirement for employment businesses to enter into written terms and conditions prior to the supply of services. The government's view is that parties should be allowed a greater degree of flexibility when agreeing commercial terms and that the criminal liability which can result from non-compliance is disproportionate.

Restrictions on the recruitment of overseas worker-seekers

Following the government's previous consultation in this area, the existing legislation was updated on 5 January 2015 including prohibiting recruitment agencies from advertising 'GB vacancies', (those that are ordinarily required to be performed in Great Britain) in an European Economic Area ('EEA') country other than the UK unless:

  • it advertises the vacancy in English in Great Britain at the same time as advertising the vacancy in another EEA state; or
  • it has advertised the vacancy in English in Great Britain 28 days prior to the fay on which it advertises the vacancy in another EEA state.
The government now proposes to further limit the scope for recruitment agencies the recruit workers solely from other EEA countries.

The effect of this would be to compel recruitment agencies to first advertise vacancies in Great Britain with a view to filling the vacancy with British workers, before looking to other EEA countries.

This would extend to precluding employers from filling vacancies with overseas workers that they have previously engaged, unless the role has already been advertised within Great Britain.

There would however be a defence for recruiters if they can demonstrate that it would be disproportionate to advertise the vacancy in Great Britain on the basis that it was unlikely to result in applications from workers with the necessary skills.

The consultation is open until 23 November 2015 with the government's response expected to be published by 15 February 2016. We will keep you updated.

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