Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'I Never Thought I Would Hear a Senior Minister Propose That Companies Should Monitor and Report on Their Numbers of Non-UK Employees. I Find the Thought Repugnant'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'I Never Thought I Would Hear a Senior Minister Propose That Companies Should Monitor and Report on Their Numbers of Non-UK Employees. I Find the Thought Repugnant'

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Kelly Reporter mike.kelly@ncjmedia.co.uk

ANORTH East university chief has slammed some of the government's post Brexit rhetoric as "repugnant" in a stinging attack.

It was contained in an internal memo written by Professor Chris Brink, Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University, and distributed to staff in which he took issue with recent government language over immigration.

Prof Brink, who is from South Africa and has spent 10 years at the university, was shocked by Home Secretary Amber Rudd's comments about monitoring foreign staff.

Speaking at the recent Conservative party conference, Ms Rudd said foreign workers should not be able to "take the jobs that British people should do" and announced proposals to make companies publish the proportion of "international staff on their books".

Prof Brink said: "Personally, I never thought when I came to the UK in 2007 that I would hear a senior UK government minister propose from a public platform that companies, and presumably by extension universities, should monitor and report on their numbers of non-UK employees.

"I find the thought that we should do so repugnant.

"It is contrary to the idea that a university is a community of learning, open to all who have the ability and the wish to participate and benefit from it."

Ms Rudd's comments provoked howls of outrage and the government quickly changed tack. It later announced that companies will not be made to publish the data, that it would be confidential and instead used by the government to identify skills shortages, rather than to "name and shame" businesses that rely on foreign employees.

At the same conference, Prime Minister Theresa May also sparked controversy with her comment: "If you believe you're a citizen of the world, you're a citizen of nowhere. …

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