Law firms and other employers sponsoring recruits from outside the European Economic Area have condemned as ‘political’ the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) ruling that all vacancies should be advertised in Jobcentre Plus.

From 1 April the agency is introducing new measures under its ‘points-based’ system. These measures will require employers to advertise vacancies through Jobcentre Plus, an agency of the Department for Work and Pensions, to help ensure all jobs are made available to British nationals. Critics say this requirement could force employers to waste time and resources processing unsuitable applications.

Richard Williams, employment and immigration solicitor at City firm Denton Wilde Sapte, said the new Jobcentre Plus requirement would have ‘an adverse impact’ on sponsors.

‘Employers have traditionally relied upon the milk round, head hunters, recruitment agencies and advertising in specialist publications’, he said.

‘The need to advertise in ­Jobcentre Plus makes a strong political statement that the ­government is serious about reducing unemployment in the UK. But are the centres really the right place to recruit lawyers and bankers?’

Caron Pope, a partner in the immigration department of City firm CMS Cameron McKenna, said the firm would lobby the UKBA.

‘We had a good working relationship with the agency under the old work permit scheme, but the new system is rigid and simplistic. It looks good on paper, but imposes too many burdens on employers,’ she said.