Board fears export of CITB-owned test will encourage unqualified workers to come to the UK

A key element of the CSCS skills card scheme could be sold across the world, raising concerns that foreign workers will believe they are qualified to work in the UK.

The CSCS health and safety test is set to be sold in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The international sale of the scheme will allow British companies to ensure that workers are certified to UK standards on foreign sites.

Passing the health and safety test does not entitle workers to CSCS cards and therefore does not give them permission to work in this country. However, the CSCS board fears that the decision to market the tests abroad will encourage international workers to come to the UK in the mistaken belief they are qualified to work here.

CSCS does not have the power to veto the plan, as the intellectual property rights in it are owned by training body CITB-ConstructionSkills.

The CITB said it was selling the tests to “support training and development in the UK industry”.

It said: “We can confirm that there have been enquiries from overseas. All these enquiries represent an opportunity to realise significant non-levy income.”

The CITB piloted a scheme last year to enable Polish workers to sit the CSCS test in Poland. This stirred up a boardroom row over whether it would make it easier for Eastern European workers to come to the UK.

n Ruth Kelly, the communities secretary, has unveiled a report saying immigrants should be made to learn English rather than rely on interpreters and translated signs.

The report recommended that employers pay for language lessons for workers with poor English.