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Northern Ireland employers may have to register Irish passport holders as foreigners under Conservative government proposals: Sinn Fein

Northern Ireland workers who hold Irish passports may have to register with the employers under proposals set out by the Conservative government, Sinn Fein has said.

At the Conservative Party conference, Home Secretary Amber Rudd outlined proposals to force companies to reveal how many foreign workers they employ.

The proposals are intended to pressurise employers into hiring locals over migrants.

Ms Rudd said she wanted to "flush out" companies abusing existing rules and "nudge them into better behaviour".

Sinn Fein MLA John O'Dowd speaking on the BBC Stephen Nolan show said: "All Irish passport holders, if they work in the north, they are going to have to register with their company as foreigner workers and that information then passed to the government.

"That's a ridiculous situation.

"For what purpose I don't know. It won't assist the economy, it won't assist our society in anyway.

"There is no evidence to support their proposals that this will help employ British workers - if that is their aim.

"But there is a lot of evidence to support the theory that the British government are ideally placed to protect the rights of workers and to ensure all workers receive proper terms and conditions and a proper wage."

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However, businessman and Northern Ireland Conservative Party member Frank Shivers said the matter was only open for a consultation to gather ideas.

He said: "In Northern Ireland we have to give how many Protestants and Catholics we employ so why not immigrants? Would that not be of similar value to the government?

"We make no apology for protecting British jobs.

"For people to say that Irish passport holders will have to register as foreign - no one knows that. The thing has not been published, it is a consultation review.

"I'm not saying I supporting it. It's a consultation process and the information that comes from it may be and could be of use to British workers and of use to the government."

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