Housing And Job Discrimination Claims Take Aim At Brexiteers

  • Mark Angelides
  • Sep 12, 2017 12:56PM

British Government Ministers are scrambling to come up with a response to accusations that Britain has begun discriminating against non-UK EU citizens regarding jobs and housing. the3million,” a loose organization of EU nationals who wish to reverse the Brexit decision, have compiled a small dossier that claims to show adverts posted in the UK that are intentionally discriminatory.

The Guardian has published an article that highlights the examples that the campaigners have presented. It has taken the initial accusations of discrimination and proceeded to do interviews and research to further back up the dossier’s point. But the reality is that this is nothing but another attempt to delegitimize and derail the Brexit referendum. If the complicit media can make constant associations between racism and discrimination and the choice to leave the European Union (EU), there will be an opposite vote if a second referendum is held.

The furor rests on the premise that UK employers are discriminating against non-UK workers by placing employment ads that are not inclusive enough.

Examples collected include an advert for a graduate sales executive in Bristol specifying German language skills but restricting the job to full UK passport holders. An advert for a Solihull-based research job with an international management consultancy specified that the “candidate must have the right to stay and work permanently in the UK, and a valid UK passport.” (The Guardian)

Essentially, employers are asking for someone who presently, and in the future will have the legal right to work in the UK. When Britain leaves the EU in March 2019 (or before), businesses want to ensure that they do not have to rehire, retrain, and hunt down new staff members… this is called planning. Is it discriminatory to ask potential employees if they are legally allowed to work in the country? No, it is their duty.

Consider if a candidate were applying for a job in any country in the world outside of the European Union; they would (other than for short-term jobs) require a valid passport, and right to remain in that country and engage in employment.

The only place that these rules do not apply is within the EU, and Britain has voted to leave.

In addition to the3million, The British Labour party have seized upon this opportunity to denigrate the Brexit voters and decision by helping to compile even more examples of this supposed discrimination. Supposed examples of discrimination include:

  • Rental properties advertised for UK citizens only or outlining different terms for EU nationals.
  • A law firm advising that employment contracts incorporate clauses that specify that the loss of right to work will result in immediate dismissal.

Regarding rentals, this is actually the law. There is such a thing as Right to Rent that is overseen by the British Government, and is just about the same law that applies all over the European Union. When renting a house or apartment, landlords and agencies are legally obliged to determine if an individual has the Right to Rent, and inform them of the applicable rules. The Immigration Act 2014 states that private renters “will need to provide evidence of their citizenship or immigration status to all private tenancy agreements made after 1 December 2014.” It has been around since long before the Brexit vote.

In the case of law firms, the claim is even more ridiculous. Any law firm that DID NOT advise its client to have this as part of a contract should be fired immediately. If someone loses the right to work in your country, they can no longer do the job for which they are (presumably) being paid; if an employer is unable to terminate the contract, should they continue to pay salary? In almost all other countries, a work contract is contingent on the individual being legally allowed to work in that country. A company that does not have this basic protection is doing it wrong.

The Guardian “took to the streets” to find EU citizens who had been discriminated against; they found Natasha, a Polish teaching assistant. Natasha was “completely blindsided” when an education recruitment agency asked her if she was legally allowed to work in the UK. She told the Guardian:

“I was completely taken aback and thought it must be incompetence, but their response was very confused saying I need a permanent residency document or a work permit, neither of which you need,” said Natasha, who has been in the UK for six years and entitled to work under EU law.

“It freaked me out. At the time I needed work.”                                                       

Unfortunately for Natasha, it is the law of the UK (and all other EU nations, including Poland) to ask if someone is legally allowed to work for you; failure to so could result in your business being fined, or even shut down. The interviewer was obliged to ask for documents showing that she was both a legal resident, and legally allowed to work.

This is what’s known as “grasping at straws.” The arguments and examples contain no real substance and are designed specifically to instill outrage in those that are not aware of the real circumstances. Even worse, the only reason that EU Citizens are at risk of not being able to live and work in the UK after Britain leaves the bloc, is that the EU itself has refused to take up the offer made by the British government on Day One of the negotiations to secure the rights of all EU citizens in Britain.

There is no discrimination. It is a myth made up to fool the gullible. And any worries or fears that EU citizens might have about their future in the UK need only look to the European Union itself for blame.