Tech firms and IT outsourcers are bringing in staff from outside the European Union to the UK at almost double the rate of any other industry, triggering renewed concerns that businesses are now employing transfers to bypass immigration rules.
New stats from the ‘Association of Professional Staffing Companies’ (Apsco), which represents the IT recruiters in the UK, revealed that around 29,240 IT workers from overseas joined the UK tech industry last year using the “intra-company transfer” way, which enables tech companies to bring in workers from overseas offices into the country. A majority of these staffers were from India.
The figure is more than twice the total number of 14,255 overseas staffers coming into the UK to work in all other professional sectors taken together.
“Employers should be required by law to advertise vacancies in the UK first before transferring employees from overseas offices. We are disappointed that the Migration Advisory Committee is not recommending that this loophole be closed”, said Ann Swain, the chief exec of Apsco.
He further went on to say that the intra-company transfer hasn’t been exploited to an extent by any other sector as it has been by the tech industry in the UK.
However, IT recruiters and trade unions have lobbied the Home Office’s Migration Advisory Committee to come up with a rather stiffer system for the transfer of workers from outside the EU, claiming that existing policy is affecting the UK’s IT graduates and tech workers hard.
This is certainly a very sensitive subject to be discussed, as the UK economy is stuck into the worst recession since the second World War. Importing labour from foreign countries is only part of the equation though. The overwhelming number of new workers who come to the UK are from mainland Europe rather than from outside the EU.