The British government has abandoned a plan to force companies to disclose the percentage of migrant employees (“international”), with the intention to name and shame those who do not invest in local skills.

“This is not going to happen,” Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon told the BBC on Sunday.

License to discriminate

In doing so, he contradicted Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Last Tuesday, she justified that policy on the following grounds: “The state must draw a sharp line of distinction between those who, as members of the nation, are the foundation and support of its existence and greatness, and those who are domiciled in the state, simply as earners of their livelihood there.”

Ms. Rudd not only proposed that businesses in the U.K should be forced to disclose what percentage of their workforce is non-British, but she also promised to “flush out” companies that advertise jobs abroad rather than train British workers. Ms. Rudd told BBC she is ready to “name and shame” companies not doing enough to hone a British talent pool. She pointed out that in the 18-to-24 age group there is still 10% unemployment in the U.K.

Misunderstanding, not U-turn

Following an industry and opposition backlash, Mr. Fallon said that the government would ask “simply to report their numbers,” to identify skill gaps.

The Education Secretary made clear that this evidence requested from businesses would not be made public and there would be “no naming and shaming.”

The former aid to Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr. Steve Hamilton, wrote in the Sunday Times that Amber is killing the British reputation for being an open economy.

The British Chamber of Commerce and the Business CBI organization also questioned the legitimacy of Ms Rudd’s “naming and shaming policy” and welcomed the latest clarifications.