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The Intra Company Transfer (ICT) scheme was introduced to allow businesses to bring in people with important skills that the company could not source within the UK. But these rules are being used to bring in cheap labour, claim IT contractors
Mark Lewis, partner and head of outsourcing at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, said the government had been forced to look into the matter because of the number of overseas workers in the UK on ICTs.
"I think this will be the hottest issue we have seen facing offshoring relations between India and the UK," said Lewis. "The implications [of the government's stance on ICT] for UK businesses and Indian suppliers are massive."
According to data obtained by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies from the Home Office under the Freedom of Information Act, 35,430 non-EU IT workers came to work in the UK last year. This compared to 12,726 during the dotcom boom in 2000.
Most non-EU workers that came to the UK in the past year are low to mid-level workers. This contravenes the rationale behind the ICT system.
The Professional Contractors Group (PCG) said that, since launching a campaign in May, it has been receiving up to 20 e-mails a day from members alerting it to abuses of the ICT regulation.