Racism row as British firm seeks Indian origin applicant

A British computer company`s advertisement seeking an applicant "preferably of Indian origin" has been dubbed racist by campaigners.

Updated: Mar 18, 2010, 10:53 AM IST

London: A British computer company`s advertisement seeking an applicant "preferably of Indian origin" has been dubbed racist by campaigners.
The advertisement for the 38,000 pounds a year post was branded "quite clearly racist" by agitated campaigners who claimed it showed anti-British discrimination and urged the equalities watchdog to launch an immediate investigation, Daily Express reported Thursday.

The firm, based in Bristol, stated that it was looking for someone with a minimum of six years experience in IT. It said: "The person should be a UK citizen with security clearance from the UK Government. Preferably of Indian origin."

The advertisement was for IT firm Torry Harris, which has bases in Bristol and India`s Bangalore city. It declined to comment.

IT consultant Vince Silva said: "I think it is appalling that applicants could be discriminated against in this way. It raises a question about the way some British companies are bringing in workers instead of recruiting them here."

"We all know that times are tough in the recession, and surely we should be doing more to help our own people. I`m not knocking the workers from India - they can do a good job. It`s the companies that should examine what they`re doing," Silva was quoted as saying.

Local MP David Davies said: "This is quite clearly racist. I have reported it to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission in the hope for once that they might take action against something that discriminates against most British people."

"I call on the Equality and Human Rights Commission to show some resolute action," Daily Express quoted Davies as saying.

Recruitment agency McGregor Boyall Associates has pulled the advertisement from jobsite.co.uk.

McGregor Boyall Associates Managing Director Laurie Boyle said: "This was an error - a bad one, but the first of its kind we have made in 22 years. It was cut and pasted from material sent to us by a client in India. We have begun a review of all our systems to see what we can do to stop something like this happening."

"We take steps to ensure that only responsible advertisers can upload advertisements. We don`t check their content - that would slow down the process of getting them online for potential applicants to see. Under the contract we have with advertisers, they take total responsibility for the contents," said a spokesperson for jobsite.co.uk.

A spokesperson for the Advertising Standards Authority said it would refer the case to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which Wednesday night said it would look into the matter.

The controversy follows an accusation against a supermarket supplier of discriminating against British workers by insisting recruits for production line jobs at a factory in East Anglia must speak Polish.