back to article British jobs for British people: UK tech rejects PM May’s nativist hiring agenda

“If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means." So British Prime Minister Theresa May told her party’s conference last week. Home secretary Amber Rudd laid out plans at the conference to make it harder for British employers to hire …


    1. Tatsky

      Re: Oh dear..

      There is a movement for all immigrant workers to down tools and go on strike one day next year.

      It would be good to see that go ahead, just to show how much grinds to a halt.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh dear..

        My job went to India and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. Maybe all people doing outsourced jobs in other countries should strike as well and it will show just how many jobs have been put out of reach of British people. Just because this is the situation at the moment doesn't make it right.

  1. Nick Kew Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Glad to be an old codger ...

    ... who had the opportunity, in my time, to work in other European countries without excessive red tape. Escaped destitution in Blighty twice in my time by moving abroad.

    Shame about the next generation.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    Very good, neeext!

  3. Jemma Silver badge

    Saying it with Flashman...

    Name the biggest born fools who joined parliament in the 20th -century – Gummer, Major, Mellor, Kinnock, Vaz – I knew them all.

    But I still state unhesitatingly that for pure, vacillating stupidity, for superb incompetence to command, for racism beyond the call of duty combined with epic bad judgement – in short, for the true talent for catastrophe – Theresa May stands alone. Others abide our question, but May outshines them all as the greatest political idiot of our own or any other day.

    1. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

      Re: Saying it with Flashman...

      Blimey! And she's only been PM for three months!

      More seriously Jemma, you need to get out more :-)

      1. Jemma Silver badge

        Re: Saying it with Flashman...

        You forget she's been home office or whatever they're calling it this week for years, and sociopathic nutcase doesn't even come close.

        In that three months she's managed to:

        Piss off Europe to the point that if WW2 started next week everyone would gang up to invade us, blitzkrieg in the community so to speak..

        Basically flat out told Putin (who makes Suslov & Stalin combined look like fluffy bunnies) that he needn't worry about our nukes.. They can't really reach anything important (the nuking 100,000 comment, the biggest city we can reach is basically the Russian equivalent of Milton Keynes).

        Add to that stirred up more racist feeling than a Turk in Armenia singing "two world wars, one genocide" in an Armenian squaddies bar - and then put the boot into the labour for playing whack-a-jew whilst conveniently forgetting the right club (conservative MPs dedicated to getting shot of Jews in parliament).

        That's not to mention basically making the police invulnerable to prosecution, and enabling all the bigots, rapists and sociopaths thereof to do just what they like without comeback..

        Then there's dumping asylum seekers who had been accepted as kids out when they're 18, when they're still at risk of being murdered AND THEN SLATHERING IT ALL OVER THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA so the murderer can be waiting for his niece off the plane..

        I don't know about you but if it came to a choice between Uncle Adolf and Auntie Theresa, I'd be picking Effendi - he might have been bigot di tutti bigots but he was at least honest about it and was democratically elected. I must have missed the election that put Reichfuhrerin May and the Kinnwenigerprincip into office..

        Note: Hitler espoused the Fuhrerprincip (find someone, suitably racist, who says he can do the job and then interfere in everything until they go nuts), Cameron & May the Kinnwenigerprincip, or chinless principle (find someone who went to Eton, (and had a chin that melds seamlessly with his Adam's apple) and hope fervently no one notices he's clueless, racism being a given of course; provided no one actually refers to the East End as "Bongo-bongo land" in public.. too often)

  4. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

    Just as a reality check: here's my experience

    As a UK citizen, I was laid off by a US company mid-year. My experience re finding another job was that there were jobs in the UK (I accepted one out of three offered), and jobs in Australia and the US who were willing to pay relocation. Not much seemed to be going on with regard to continental Europe barring Ireland, which has hordes of US dot coms.

    In the end, restricting immigration to companies willing to pay their requirements reasonable money (which is the case for non-EU immigration now) is hardly going to wreck anything. If someone wants to fill low level jobs, well half of this stuff has gone elsewhere already. I suspect most of this article is desperate wish fulfilment :-(

  5. codejunky Silver badge


    Looks like a golf, sounds like a golf, drives like a golf... or you could just buy a golf (that advert always comes back to me in these kinds of situations).

    People voted Tory because Cameron backed himself in a corner offering a vote on the one thing every gov has attempted to avoid since Blair. This was a shameless effort to stop the rise of UKIP who wanted everyone to be treated the same regardless of where you come from using a points based system as applied in the developed world. Instead people went with the 'safe' option and voted Tory only to regret it as the shameful official pro/anti-EU campaigns gave up on reason and went with FUD.

    So now we have the result which was the 'wrong' answer, aka not the predetermined result demanded, and of course a party of leavers and remainers led by a PM who is being pulled in every direction because she has yet to get on with it. Had we voted UKIP we would more likely be out of the EU and trading with the world by now, the EU probably moving on to their many crisis and less of the uncertainty problems from dragging it on.

  6. Pavlov's obedient mutt

    looking at this UK passport

    and wondering - is it time to jack it in for an EU one. I can't see a scenario where the UK will remain (ha-ha) at the top of IT pile - relevant, stimulating and more crucially, a safe place career wise. Countries like the Netherlands, the Republic of Scotland, etc will all benefit massively simply by NOT being British.

    1. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

      Re: looking at this UK passport

      Have you ever seen the growth rates of other EU countries? Or ever noted how the last thirty years have been one long moan from the commenting classes that because we weren't committed to Europe / in the ERM / in the Euro it was all going to go tits up?

      But still we're on top. Funny that :-)

  7. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Leaving for the US....

    If they'd let us in we'd have already gone.

    1. JustNiz

      Re: Leaving for the US....

      Typical pathetic British whining instead of just getting on and doing it. I already did it 15 years ago. The US bureaucracy is a pain in the butt but its not impossible.

      1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

        Re: Leaving for the US....

        You misunderstand I'm well aware that some people can and those that can like yourself already have.

        The rest of us are just the dregs and the US doesn't want us, quite understandably.

      2. cream wobbly

        Re: Leaving for the US....

        Yep, whinging poms. And when they're here they're always bloody complaining about not being able to get their Maltesers. I belong to a UK expats group, but I'm not an expatriate, I'm an immigrant. ("No you're not!" says my Trump-voting idiot neighbo(u)r, "I wonder what that fucking big stripe of water and those blokes giving it 'sir' were all about then!" says I in response.)

  8. Matt Bryant Silver badge


    ".....But the fact technology firms in the UK are hiring people born and raised overseas belies a major structure crisis in British training, skills and education, and attitudes to work......" Yes, but not just with the staff, the real rot in attitude has been in senior management over the last thirty years. All too often they view training as a cost rather than an investment. I laugh at modern tech companies that gush about their "training schemes", when you dig a bit deeper you find it's all minor training like "MS Office skills". In the last century we had real employee training, where you would seek to take on a raw recruit and train them how to do the job, develop their skills, almost like old school apprenticeships did in traditional engineering. Nowadays that simply doesn't exist. I have a constant battle with HR and their "praise be to recruiters" attitude, where even the most junior vacancy will insist on years of experience! All this does is keeps the recruiters busy trying to get skilled people to leave one job for another, whilst putting a barrier to entry to those who are capable but don't have experience. This is compounded by the fact that the average recruiter doesn't have the tech knowledge to actually be able to spot a good prospect. Is it any surprise the recruiters are out looking for foreigners that claim they have skills rather than UK grads or school-leavers? And I say claim as I have plenty of experience of "skilled" foreigners turning out to be anything but! Yes, I have recruited some very skilled foreigners, but I have also seen some unskilled British youngsters blossom into highly skilled and valued employees when the time and money was invested in their development.

    1. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

      Re: TLDR

      Indeed. And if the "skilled foreigners" turn out to be not quite so skilled, well it's all just too late and how can anyone have checked their references anyway?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: TLDR

        Why shouldn't I hire foreigners?

        I run a startup on the west coast - I have Brits, Russians, Saffas, Germans, Dutch, Israeli, 4 kinds of foreign chinese, Japanese, Indian, Africa, Iranian, Jordanian, 3 former bits of Yugoslavia, Chilean, both the "natural born citizens" are 1st gen Chinese. I just hired our first European-American.

        They all have work permits, visas or citizenship, why should I care which? They all pay tax here, consume stuff here and contribute to the local economy - and most importantly build our business.

        They are all also scientists and engineers and are all paid irrespective of skin color or nationality.

        Why should I prefer people born here?

        If it's purely racial then should I only hire white Americans, only Christians, only Protestants, only the same branch of the church as you or the same eye color ?

  9. ecofeco Silver badge

    Does GB have a problem or not?

    Does GB have a problem with tech jobs of doesn't it?

    From all the reading I've seen here, it does. And the problem is: undercutting local labor with offshore labor, failure to invest in local tech and failure to provide good tech education.

    Or were all those other articles and comments over the last few years merely lies?

    As for the threats to take jobs elsewhere, how is that any different than now? And why does anyone think extortion is acceptable? If, as a business you think you are the only game in town, than please, be gone and let's find out, shall we?

  10. Jeremy Allison

    Reap what you have sown

    Best comment on Brexit:

    “If you’ve got money, you vote in,” she said, with a bracing certainty. “If you haven’t got money, you vote out.”

    The people who voted Brexit don't care about you and your IT jobs. They voted to *punish* you for not sharing the wealth. I can't blame them. Doesn't really matter if it's your fault or not.

    Trading Places quote from Eddie Murphy:

    "the best way to hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people."

    Looks like that's happening. To everyone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reap what you have sown

      Unfortunately you're right.

      A recent quote from another forum sums it up:

      "This has got be a historical first: a proletarian revolt for less jobs, less rights and more inequality. Only in this demented century could that have happened. To the barricades!"

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Reap what you have sown

        @ Jeremy Allison

        "The people who voted Brexit don't care about you and your IT jobs. They voted to *punish* you for not sharing the wealth. I can't blame them. Doesn't really matter if it's your fault or not."

        @ AC

        "This has got be a historical first: a proletarian revolt for less jobs, less rights and more inequality. Only in this demented century could that have happened. To the barricades!"

        What interests me with these comments is ignoring a chunk of leave voters for the ones who make your case. There are leave voters who did so on the basis of more wealth and improving the economy. Yes some people voted for less jobs, less rights and more inequality both in the remain and leave campaigns. In the end the result is what you make of it and so far it is name calling and looking for any little sign to prove their point (again both sides).

        Why the supposedly outward looking remain voters dont stand with the outward looking leave voters baffles me. Does the desire to be proven right and watch the UK burn make it worth standing with the racists and xenophobes who would also have the same result?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reap what you have sown

      My reaction has been to minimise my wealth sharing with the UK. Vigorous tax avoidance has replaced the relaxed "paying my share" attitude, early retirement suddenly became very appealing and most of my income is being squirreled away in foreign investments. I'm making sure I survive what's coming while the leavers that voted for it suffer.

    3. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Reap what you have sown

      No, it's only happening to those who were not "poor" per se just about keeping their heads above water finance wise - the rich will be unaffected (a bit of financial loss but they will still have plenty of wealth to sustain them).

      There's an awful lot of people in the UK who are only a few paychecks away from financial meltdown

  11. Frank N. Stein


    I spend my workdays dealing with outsourced foreign workers who barely speak English and lack technical skills, but have college degrees. What school they went to or that they are foreign, doesn't help when they lack skolls and barely speak English. There is no cost savings in hiring someone who can't do the job, because they get paid less.

    1. Red Bren

      Re: Foreigners?

      I hate it when foreigners lack skolls and barely speak English...

    2. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Foreigners?

      "outsourced foreign workers", Explain.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Foreigners?

        >"outsourced foreign workers",

        We couldn't afford real foreign workers so we outsourced it to somebody in Gateshead who does the accents

  12. Adelio

    Contract staff

    What i have seen of contract staff, especially offshored or imported from Abroad to the UK is that you may get a lot of cheap manpower, but the quality of the work is far poorer that if it had been done in-house.

    They normally deliver "exactly" what you have asked, Unles you give them a specification that details every last thing that they need to do and you specify exactly how it is to be written then there is no guarantee that you are not going to have to re-write the whole lot.

    Just throwing more bodies at a problem is a wast of time if the poeple doing the work have no buy in to the project and no experience of what you want doing.

    When i have worked with experienced internal staff you can usually ommit a lot of information in specifications because they already know how you work and how the systems do things. IF there is something that they do not understand or something that does not look right then I would expect them to ask questions. Offshore if you spec it wrong, even blatetly wrong they will probably never question it and just code it to spec.

    If you have to specify every dammed thing, and coding can be very complicated (ask any coder) then that type of spec will require at least three to four times as much time to write.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Contract staff

      "They normally deliver "exactly" what you have asked, Unles you give them a specification that details every last thing that they need to do and you specify exactly how it is to be written then there is no guarantee that you are not going to have to re-write the whole lot."

      We have internal, UK, staff who do exactly the same thing. If it's not in the spec they will leave it out, as their management layer does not believe that business users should have an input to specs. By writing to spec only, if things don't work then the spec writer can be blamed.

  13. klaxhu

    disclaimer - romanian here :)

    if by tech you think of pure programming (of which romania tends to have tons abroad and locally) I can reassure you that wages in bucharest/cluj - one of the biggest cities are on par with london slalaries. Yes! you heard right, on par although a typical salary in romania doesn't really go above 300 EUR a month net, a coder earns easy 1-2-3-4k / month net depending on experience. I will let you calculate how much that is in pounds/year before tax so you can compare. also, the cost of living is much much lower there. its a coder's paradise right now there. they can buy an apartment within 2-3 years without any mortgage.

    so no reason for them to come to GB

    the point is - we don't always just pick strawberries or wash cars, there are a lot of us who also code and even earn better there than here

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all going to end in tears

    In another time, May might have been good for the UK but now she has just inherited a poisoned chalice, which she appears to have realised now as demonstrated by each U turn she makes. Defensive and under pressure, she will increasingly be making decisions that are to her political advantage rather than in the best interests of the country.

    The probability she can steer her way through major issues successfully is near zero. Currently, they are:

    - Inability to define the terms and conditions for leaving the EU without alienating everyone

    - The possibility of losing a legal challenge over Parliament's involvement in departing vs the potential constitutional crisis (ie rule by decree)

    - The probability of having to accept a vote (or votes) by Parliament prior to Article 50 being invoked

    - The continued drop in sterling (how low can it go before the public say enough is enough?)

    - Serious inflation primarily hurting those who voted for Brexit but ultimately affecting everyone

    - A decaying health service and fighting the doctors profession, when those who can will probably leave

    - The increasing prospect of strikes due to relatively poor wage increases

    - The reality that Britain on its own doesn't matter any more on the international stage

    - The outcry as people realise their pensions are becoming worthless and they'll have to work forever

    - Countries that used to respect Britain turning their backs due to the anti immigration rhetoric

    - A Scottish referendum (and a NI one?)

    - No majority in Parliament as her own MPs oppose the Government

    - Infighting between the hard and soft Brexiteers in the Tory party.

    - The possibility that if it all goes pear shaped, Corbyn might offer the only real alternative to voters

    And that's before she has to deal with any international crises, although maybe getting into a war might just offer enough distraction to make all the other issues disappear. Royal perogative and all that :/

    It's bad enough that she is under the mistaken impression that Brexit will be a negotiation... Remember Cameron couldn't getting anything worthwhile when the EU was supportive of the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all going to end in tears

      Of course it is a lose lose situation.

      That is why no "serious" politician wanted to be part of the disaster they created.

      Me, I just affiliated to the SNP, and no longer have much feeling about the poor who voted us into this. I know many educated and non poor people voted for Brexit, but the poor voted en masse.

      Note: a work colleague explained to me that she was not xenophobic, but voted for brexit, as the uk no longer was the uk with all those people from abroad with different cultures. She does have a degree.... and she explained this to me,a foreigner...

      Anon, as I prefer not to be tracked.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the fact technology firms in the UK are hiring people born and raised overseas belies a major structure crisis in British training"

    Yes, and it's the BRITISH FIRMS who out and out point blank REFUSE to do that training. EVERY SINGLE JOB ADVERT I see DEMANDS that I already be doing the job they are advertising. HOW THE FUCK do I get XXX years doing YYY unless somebody takes me on WITHOUT that experience so I can get that experience?

    1. Paul Shirley

      There's a clue in your rant. If EVERY ad demands experience, then clearly they're not actually prerequisites and you should do what the rest of us do, apply anyway and demonstrate you can learn any missing skills.

      It filters out the less 'determined' applicants nicely though.

  16. Sirius Lee

    Hopelessly biased article

    Students will choose to go where they think they can get a good education. While British universities ride high in the charts Britain will remain an attractive place to receive an education. Despite the [weak] rhetoric, networking effects play a role that is as important in education as it is in any other form of networking. As we can clearly see, when networking effects are in play, it is really difficult for changes to be made or for disturbances to affect them. For this reason alone, this article is nonsense. If network effect were not at play then as a middling economy dwarfed by the US, China and even Germany, our universities should much further down the league table - but they are not, they are at the top.

    Britain may be coming less welcoming. But that's from an extraordinarily high bar. Beside the US, which countries take in more workers born outside the EU?

    But is it right that Britain is allow to plunder the talent from developing countries. The premise of this article is that it is absolutely right for Britain to welcome, indeed compete for, the brightest foreign minds. If we were talking about physical assets - natural resources, perhaps, or some land - would it be OK for Britain to compete to plunder these assets? Of course not. It would be denounced as imperialism. But plundering the intellectual assets of a country is OK.

  17. Tom Paine Silver badge

    er speech outlined proposals for firms to compile lists of foreign staff and to name and shame employers – proposal that ignited condemnation and criticism.

    Minor point - I understand this wasn't actually in the speech, it was floated by a press officer in the most-speech spin room. (I don't know for sure, because I don't want to sit through Amber Rudd's speech, either.)

  18. klaxhu

    taking something that is cheaper to keep costs low has always been the case. see slaves, see why emperors and kings conquered other worlds - for resources and cheap/free labour.

    The way we pay people today is nothing but that. just modern slavery

    we depend for our cheap coffee to cheap coders on other places where we didn't have to invest our time and money to get them over quick and get them working (bringing us money)

    I came to London some years ago when Romania still needed working permits. it took 6 months to get one and the company had to sponsor me. it was such a pain in the arse even for a multinational with 60.000 employees that they said they will never do it again. we now are looking at exactly that.

    yes, there will be more opportunities for poorer performers to earn more money purely because of process of hiring, but that money will be worth less than your salary is today because of inflation, import taxes, etc

    You have to be really daft to believe a hard Brexit will bring anything good.

    I hope I am wrong

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The employer made catspaw for the government.That's not very nice. Show me your papers, please?

  20. Securitymoose

    No elephants, only skinflints

    Why are the IT employers up in arms? People from parts of the EU are CHEAPER, that's why. You can train British workers to do the jobs, but then, they will probably want a living wage, and that means fewer liquid lunches for these moguls.

    Can't train British workers? Hell, we have outsourced most of our industry to other countries anyway, and they can obviously be trained (with the odd hiccough - see various banks' experience with outsourcing). Apprenticeships for school leavers? I think you'll be surprised at what they can do.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    May's metamorphosis

    She's turned the Nasty party into the Nazi party.

  22. David Pearce

    Most IT jobs are unusual because they can be done anywhere. The only way that restricting foreign workers in IT would raise UK salaries would be if the Government forced local development (China style firewall etc).

    Multinationals won't stand for it

  23. Adrian Tawse

    The real problem

    The problem is not the import of people, it is the export of jobs, mostly to India. If costs in the UK go up even more work will go overseas. We live in an international world, learn to liv e in it.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Your only going to the west coast if you have a visa - H and L visa requirements sit within the same criteria that you are not taking a job from a US citizen. O criteria of exceptional and published in your field is a limited number. Im not suggesting the U.K. proposals are good, just that some illusion of an open door to the Valley is a myth.

  25. cream wobbly

    Expect a brain drain

    What do you mean, "expect a brain drain"? I've already left!

    And it looks increasingly like I won't be back.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The reality with STEM is that you have to be self taught - you don't learn to be a software engineer at school. School programs barely teach you the foundations. University is slightly better, though still extremely elementary. 90% of ability by the people we need is because they picked up a piece of technology and taught themselves how it works. All the people I work with have almost identical stories of getting a screwdriver and taking apart things, installing hacks, endlessly reading and thinking about STEM ideas. In any country that is rare. The idea that we'll be able to staff a tech industry from British schools is beyond naive - it's just right-wing bullshit about darkies coming to take our jobs.


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