Forget Twitterstorms — the British government’s plan to force businesses to disclose how many foreigners they employ has whipped up a real tornado of criticism.
The backlash came after Home Secretary Amber Rudd floated the idea, as part of proposals to prevent migrants “taking jobs [that] British people can do,” media reports said.
“There is still one in ten 18- to 24-year-olds in the U.K. who are unemployed,” Rudd said as she presented the plan Tuesday, according to a BBC report. “I want businesses to think first about locally training people where possible.”
Rudd said the government wants to “flush out” companies that aren’t doing enough to employ British talent, but there were plenty who didn’t see it that way.
So foreign workers need to be put on lists? What next? Little badges which must be worn at all times? Scary times. https://t.co/cpdTrLGMIL
— Plaingoldband (@plaingoldband) October 5, 2016
Some entrepreneurs simply said they were ashamed:
"Firms must list foreign workers"? Dear God this is getting so ugly. As a business leader I am ashamed for my country to see this. pic.twitter.com/j4iTbyYuxy
— Jeremy Leggett (@JeremyLeggett) October 5, 2016
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed her disgust:
We seem to have woken up with a UKIP government. Depressing doesn't even begin to cover it. pic.twitter.com/O8DYc6smdE
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 5, 2016
And even parliament’s only member of Brexit-backing-party UKIP isn’t on board:
— Douglas Carswell MP (@DouglasCarswell) October 5, 2016
Others went as far as to liken Rudd and her party to the Nazis, but the minister pushed back against that label.
“We must not ignore the fact that people want to talk about immigration, and if we do talk about immigration, don’t call me a racist,” the Conservative politician said.
— Guy Walters (@guywalters) October 5, 2016
Rudd took over the Home Office’s top job after her predecessor in that post, Theresa May, became the U.K.’s new prime minister. May took over from David Cameron after the U.K. voted in June to exit the European Union. The political upheaval among Conservatives after that referendum opened the door to a change in government leadership and policy.
Taking a different tack, someone asked Rudd how many foreigners her own government department employs:
Awkward! Home Sec Amber Rudd cant say how many EU citizens work in her department – yet demands business count theirs pic.twitter.com/9nsURMmVqC
— Matthew Holehouse (@mattholehouse) October 5, 2016
And not everyone’s against the proposal, of course:
What's wrong with listing foreign workers? Clearly the number of NI Cards issued shows discrepancies with immigrant figures. #Brexit
— raymond (@theHittheBside) October 4, 2016
Some people are wondering about how to comply:
If you're a one-foreign-woman UK extension of a foreign company, are you supposed to send a list of yourself to the government? #justasking
— Anna Winterstein (@Awstein) October 6, 2016
While others have already answered the call:
— BarryButler (@barryjbutler) October 5, 2016
—Sara Sjolin contributed to this report.