- Business Minister Matthew Hancock said firms have a duty to hire Britons
- Said filling vacancies with well-trained foreign workers was an 'easy option'
- Employers receive up to 870 for every EU citizen from outside the UK
- Firms can recruit up to 20 foreign workers a year through the EU scheme
Brussels is offering British firms cash 'bribes' of almost 1,000 a time to take on foreign workers.
Thousands of youngsters are also being offered payments totalling more than 1,100 to take a job in Britain under the European Commission scheme.
The extraordinary initiative appears to directly undermine Government efforts to persuade firms to take on British workers as the recovery takes hold.
In an interview with the Daily Mail yesterday the Business Minister Matthew Hancock said firms had a duty to hire Britons rather than taking the 'easy option' of filling vacancies with well-trained foreign workers.
The joint initiative between British JobCentres and the European Commission offer incentives including 870 for every EU citizen employed by a UK firm and a grant of 260 for applicants to travel to Britain for an interview
Firms taking on non-UK workers qualify for a payment from Brussels worth up to 870 for every EU citizen they employ, to help pay for English lessons and other training.
Employers can recruit up to 20 foreign workers a year through the EU scheme, which is run with the co-operation of British JobCentres.
Jobless youngsters across Europe can qualify for a grant of 260 to travel to Britain for an interview.
If they land the job they also qualify for an 870 grant to help with the costs of moving to this country.
Yesterday more than 800,000 UK jobs were being advertised through the scheme more than half the total across Europe.
These incentives come at a time when more than half of vacancies in the UK are filled by foreigners.
It is not known how many have taken advantage of the EU scheme. A UK Independence Party source said the EU was effectively 'bribing' firms to take foreign workers.
Party leader Nigel Farage said the initiative was 'utterly reprehensible' at a time when youth unemployment in this country stands at nearly one million.
He added: 'With two and a half million people unemployed in the UK, of which 958,000 are under 25, every job vacancy counts.
'Yet here we have the EU, which we already grossly overfund, advertising our jobs to people outside the UK and even giving them the upper hand by offering financial support to get interviews here and move here. We are essentially paying the EU to give away British jobs.'
Business Minister Matthew Hancock (left) criticised UK firms for taking the 'easy option'. UKIP leader Nigel Farage added fuel to the fire by saying unemployment can't be improved while the UK is a member of the EU
The EU scheme, which was launched last year, is known as EURES, and is designed to help ease the EU's chronic youth unemployment problem.
The UK provides about 13 per cent of the scheme's budget.
Jobs on offer include a wide range of relatively low-skilled vacancies, such as shop work and jobs in the construction industry.
In contrast with Britain, France is advertising 48,330 vacancies, Italy 12,193 and Denmark just 197.
The scheme is open to all young EU nationals aged 18 to 30 and could attract thousands of youngsters to Britain from struggling southern European countries which have unemployment rates up to three times as high as the UK's, such as Spain, Greece and Portugal.
Mr Hancock yesterday said it is 'companies' social duty, to look at employing locally first'.
But Mr Farage said the revelations about the Brussels scheme gave the lie to Government claims that immigration could be controlled while remaining in the EU.
He added: 'For the minister to blame British businesses when he is taxing them in order to send the money to Brussels to fund foreign jobseekers to compete with British workers is so unfair as to be outrageous.
'We have said from the start we simply cannot improve unemployment in the UK while being a member of the EU.'
An EU spokesman stressed that British youngsters were able to use the scheme to access jobs elsewhere in Europe.
THE 'GO HOME' FLOP
Posters warning illegal immigrants to 'go home or face arrest' have persuaded just one foreigner to leave.
An Indian citizen has started the process of voluntary repatriation after spotting the signs, which have been on display in six London boroughs over the past few days.
The Home Office yesterday insisted the campaign had started well and that hotline staff had fielded a number of calls.
The Lib Dems have called the posters offensive and UKIP leader Nigel Farage said they were a 'nasty' gimmick.