A leading British business body has accused Nigel Farage of lacking "business logic" after the Ukip leader controversially called for reforms to the UK's workplace discrimination laws.
The Institute of Directors (IoD), which has 34,500 members across the UK, told IBTimes UK that companies are most concerned about "finding the best person for the job".
"There are serious issues with employment law, but this isn't something that's holding businesses back. There is no business logic behind Farage's comments," said Edwin Morgan, head of media relations at the IoD.
The organisation, which surveyed its members, found that almost four out of ten (37%) respondents employed at least one person from Europe, while 30% had at least one member of staff from the rest of the world.
The research also revealed that more than three quarters (77%) of companies said they employed a non-UK citizen because "they were the right person for the job".
The IoD said that the other reasons given were that the business valued the different perspective they brought, they had different skills or experience, or a desire to build trade links with a new market.
In addition, cost was not a significant reason, with less than 4% of members saying the staff or hiring costs were cheaper.
"We'd be happy to hear suggestions from any politician on areas where the burden of employment law could be reduced, but businesses don't want to discriminate on grounds of nationality when hiring staff, they just want the best person for the job," Morgan added.
The comments come after Farage told a Channel 4 documentary: "I think the employer should be much freer to make decisions on who she or he employs.
"I think the situation that we now have, where an employer is not allowed to choose between a British-born person and somebody from Poland, is a ludicrous state of affairs.
"I would argue that the law does need changing, and that if an employer wishes to choose, or you can use the word 'discriminate' if you want to, but wishes to choose to employ a British-born person, they should be allowed to do so."
Labour seized on the remarks and alleged that Farage wanted to scrap anti-discrimination laws.
"Farage's comments show once again that Ukip is a nasty party that is out of touch with modern Britain and which would scrap laws that protect people in the workplace," a Labour spokesperson said.
But the Ukip leader hit back and claimed that the party's rivals had "wilfully misinterpreted" his statement.
"Wilful misinterpretation of what I said. I'm talking Britons, whatever their heritage, being discriminated against in favour of EU migrants," Farage said.