ARC says the announcement on the GLA shift signals imminent proposals to change agency regulations

In an early move in respect of the long awaited amendments to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (“Agency Regulations”) the government yesterday announced an amendment to the advertising rule and that a further consultation will be issued shortly.

The advertising rule is to be changed to force agencies only recruiting from abroad to also advertise the job in the UK. The text of the change is not yet known.

At the same time the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) is now subsumed into the Home Office with immediate effect, giving the government stronger ability to monitor illegal immigration. Additionally penalties for breaches of a range of regulations relevant to illegal workers, including for breach of the National Minimum Wage and for “beds in sheds” housing activities by “rogue landlords”, are to be increased.

Adrian Marlowe, chairman of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC), said “these new regulations primarily are designed to address illegal activity relating to low paid immigrant workers, but the principles that relate to all, for example for breaches of the National Minimum Wage, make absolute sense. We commend the government as it is critical that rogue practices, which damage individuals and have the potential to tarnish the recruitment industry, are eradicated.”

The announcements signal an imminent move to reform the Agency Regulations. Marlowe commented “ARC responded strongly to some of the changes proposed in the last consultation on the subject of mainstream recruitment regulation, which closed in April 2013. We were particularly concerned at the plan to scrap the Employment Agency Inspectorate and push enforcement through the Employment Tribunal, which the government subsequently dropped. We also argued that regulation should only be changed where genuinely needed for practical reasons since many of the existing regulations in principle work well, and maintenance of independently policed rules in the industry is important to retain standards. We look forward to seeing the new proposals.” 

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