Supermarket giant Tesco has come under fire for looking to fill managerial roles in its British stores with staff from Slovakia.

The retailer has defended its decision to issue job advertisements in the Eastern European country, stating that it had been encountering significant difficulties in recruiting the appropriate staff in the UK.

A company spokeswoman said that they had exhausted all other options before turning their eye to foreign fields.

“At Tesco we always try to recruit staff from local communities. In spite of intensive local recruitment drives and advertising, we can’t always fill vacancies so we have to widen our search,” she said. “It is much more expensive for us to recruit UK staff from elsewhere in Europe, and that’s another reason why we only do this as a last resort.”

How the company’s claims match with recent figures from recruitment drives remain to be seen. More than 1,800 people applied for the 68 jobs being created at the store’s new branch in Evington, Leicester and 589 people put themselves forward for the 189 jobs created at the new Welshpool store.

Nearly 300 people scrabbled for the 35 vacancies created with the expansion of the branch in Faversham, Kent, as the area’s unemployment levels rose to 0.7 per cent above Kent’s average.

Staff recruited from Slovakia would be provided with help with their legal paperwork and housing, plus 12 weeks’ of English language training.

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