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IT companies bringing more number of overseas staff than other professional services combined

An estimated 29,240 IT workers from outside the EU entered the UK last year through ICT route

An estimated 29,240 IT workers from outside the EU entered the UK last year through ICT route

Tags: Apsco, Migration Advisory Committee, Carrie Hartnell

24th August 2009: Just over a fortnight after the UK Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee called for an "urgent and rigorous" probe into intra-company transfers (ICTs) to see whether the method was being used to bring in foreign workers without going through the cumbersome procedure, a report has brought the role of IT companies under scanner.
The new figures released by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (Apsco) indicate an estimated 29,240 IT workers from outside the European Union entered the UK last year through the “intra-company transfer” route, compared to 14,410 combined for other professional sectors. These include general business, management, the law, property and telecoms.
With this, it is clear that some of the technology companies are bringing in the UK staff from overseas at twice the rate compared to other professional services combined.
Apsco, which represents Britain’s IT recruiters, believes a large majority of these are from India.
Available information suggests unions and IT recruiters have approached the Home Office and immigration watchdog Migration Advisory Committee to bring about a tougher regime for the transfer of overseas staff. Their argument is that the method is being misused, an assertion opposed vehemently by the IT companies in the UK. They are insisting overseas staff is essential to block the short-term holes in local expertise.
Carrie Hartnell of industry trade body Intellect believes if the route was to be closed down, it would mean job losses in the UK, as people would move the work to Europe or elsewhere.
As of now, the migration committee has recommended workers coming through ICTs, who typically stay in the country for about year-and-a-half, should not be allowed to settle down; and overseas employees must have worked for a company for a year before being allowed to move in to the UK.
But the committee also suggested companies could bring graduates to the UK after three months following criticism that the points-based immigration system was getting in the way of efforts to recruit the brightest international graduates.
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.
The ICTs are believed to be 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 — had recently 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 said.


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