Employing migrant workers


Preventing discrimination

Discrimination issues

The Commission for Racial Equality is a publicly funded, non-governmental body set up under the Race Relations Act 1976 to tackle racial discrimination and promote racial equality. They provide information and advice to people who think they have suffered racial discrimination or harassment. www.cre.gov.uk.

Any enquiries about the law on the prevention of illegal working should be addressed to the Home Office and not to the CRE. However, the CRE can advise on matters relating to the law on race discrimination, and the contact details for the CRE national offices are listed as follows:

London and the south of England

Commission for Racial Equality
St Dunstan's House
201-211 Borough High Street
London, SE1 1GZ
Tel: 020 7939 0000
Fax: 020 7939 0001
Email: info@cre.gov.uk


Commission for Racial Equality
3rd Floor, Lancaster House,
67 Newhall Street,
Birmingham, B3 1NA
Tel: 0121 710 3000
Fax: 0121 710 3001


Commission for Racial Equality,
Suite 1.01,
1st Floor, Peter House,
Oxford Street,
Manchester, M1 5AN
Tel: 0161 602 3060
Fax: 0161 602 3061


Commission for Racial Equality (Scotland)
The Tun,
12 Jackson's Entry,
off Holyrood Road,
Edinburgh, EH8 8PJ
Tel: 0131 524 2000
Fax: 0131 524 2001
Textphone: 0131 524 2018
Email: scotland@cre.gov.uk

Wales (Cardiff Office)

Commission for Racial Equality (Wales)
3rd Floor, Capital Tower,
Greyfriars Road,
Cardiff, CF10 3AG
Tel: 02920 729 200
Fax: 02920 729 220
Email: InformationWales@cre.gov.uk

Wales (North Wales Office)

Commission for Racial Equality (Wales)
Bangor Road,
Conwy, LL34 6LS
Tel: 01492 621 380
Fax: 01492 621 382

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland may be contacted at the following address:
Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Equality House, 7-9 Shaftesbury Square
Belfast, BT2 7DP
Tel: 028 90 500 600
Fax: 028 90 248687
Textphone: 028 90 500589
Email: information@equalityni.org


The Commission for Racial Equality
  • The Statutory Code of Practice on Racial Equality in Employment

This code was produced by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in April 2006 and contains practical guidance to help employers to comply with the Race Relations Act 1976. An electronic copy of the document can be downloaded from the CRE website at www.cre.gov.uk.

Printed copies of the Code, in English and Welsh, are available from:
CRE Customer Services,
P.O. Box 29,

Further copies can also be requested;
by phone on 0870 240 3697,
by fax, on 0870 240 3698, or
by e-mail at CRE@tso.co.uk.

There is also useful information about avoiding racial discrimination available on the IND website.

The Equal Opportunities Commission is also a good source of advice on employment and related issues.

Avoiding unlawful racial discrimination

There is a requirement that employers do not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their racial background, when taking steps to comply with section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996. This means that employers should ensure that all job selections should be on the basis of suitability for the post. You should ensure that no prospective job applicants are discouraged or excluded, either directly or indirectly, because of their personal appearance or accent. You should not make assumptions about a person's right to work or immigration status, on the basis of their colour, race, nationality, or ethnic or national origins, or the length of time they have been resident in the UK. The best way to ensure that you do not discriminate is to treat all applicants in the same way at each stage of the recruitment process. For example, if you provide information to prospective applicants, or if you supply an application form, you could also include a reminder that the successful applicant, or short-listed applicants, will be asked to produce original documents included in List 1 or List 2.

If an employer fails to operate their recruitment practices in a non-discriminatory manner, it is likely that they will be liable to face not only action by the employee on the basis of discrimination, but that they will also have a recruitment process which fails to guarantee a statutory defence under section 8 of the 1996 Act.

The Government has made available a Code of Practice for Employers, with the aim of providing employers with best practice advice. The Code does not create any new legal obligation for employers, or make an employer liable to any proceedings, but can be admissible in evidence in any proceedings under the 1976 Act or the 1997 Order before an Employment Tribunal (an Industrial Tribunal in Northern Ireland).

There is further information about avoiding racial discrimination available on the IND website.


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