The CBI has insisted the government needs to "actively manage" the influx of foreign workers after new immigration minister Phil Woolas promised a crackdown.
Woolas said in an interview with the Times over the weekend that employers should look to hire British workers before migrants during the economic crisis.
"Britain has to get working again," Woolas said. "The easiest thing for an employer to do is to employ an immigrant. We need to help them to change that."
He said that the UK needed a tougher immigration policy, and insisted he would do his best to help British people back to work.
Woolas added: "We have to have a population policy, and that means at some point we will be able to set a limit on migration. This government isn't going to allow the population of this country to go up to 70 million."
The CBI said the government should rely on the points-based immigration system it is phasing in this year to keep down the number of foreign workers entering the UK.
Neil Carberry, head of employment policy at the employers' body, said: "Active management of the points-based system is the best way to achieve a balance between economic and social needs, rather than an arbitrary cap on numbers."