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Probe demanded for intra-company transfers in banking, IT

Intra-company transfers being used to bring in foreign labour


10 August 2009: The UK Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee has called for an "urgent and rigorous" investigation into intra-company transfers (ICTs). It is believed that some of the banks are using the method to bring in foreign workers, without going through the cumbersome procedure.

The ICTs permit movement of specialist staff between global offices of multinational companies. For the purpose, there is no need to go through the lengthy immigration process. In fact, there is no requirement to advertise the post, or even to prove that a UK worker is not available to fill in.

Available information suggests the ICTs are helping some of the Scottish banks to replace the workers by migrants in a bid to secure a low-cost labour pool.

Brining to the fore the issue, the Professional Contractors Group (PCG) — a lobby group representing the interests of freelance workers and contractors — has asserted that the banks are misusing this type of work permit to bring staff from overseas; and the practice is prevalent primarily in information technology companies.

In fact, the IT workers on short contracts were the sufferers as they were losing work to the new employees through the ICTs, the group believes.

It insists ICTs is rather being used to bring in foreign labour. Elaborating, Scotland-based director of PCG-cum-IT contractor Gary Sharp says companies are apparently using the method of ICTs much more frequently. The intention is to bring in workers, particularly in IT software development and the banking industry in Edinburgh.

The PCG has already shot of a communiqué to Home Secretary Alan Johnson and Finance Secretary John Swinney.

Seeking a probe, the Home Affairs Committee says it found, at the end of 2008, about one-quarter of non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrants were in the UK on a form of ICT. Statistically speaking, there number was 35,430 people.

The committee’s report says the number of ICTs granted went up by 47 per cent between 2004 and 2008, even as the economy moved into recession, raising a suspicion that the route was being used "disproportionately".

A Home Office spokeswoman says a review of ICTs will be published later this month, while the Scottish Government says the PCG’s concerns will be respond to in due course.

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