Relaxing immigration laws for overseas workers is merely a temporary solution to the country's IT skills shortage, and will not address the longer-term problems faced by the UK and other industrialised nations, an international trade union federation has warned.
According to Geneva-based Union Network International (UNI), which represents the rights of 15.5 million private sector workers around the world, governments should concentrate rather on training and re-training, with greater encouragement being given to women, young people and older workers to develop IT skills.
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The organisation cautions that the easing of immigration controls by industrialised nations is sparking a brain drain of IT specialists from developing nations, but says that anyone who chooses to emigrate should receive "full opportunities" for themselves and their families in their new home countries.
UNI's warning comes just weeks after Home Office minister, Barbara Roche indicated that the government was considering relaxing its immigration laws to facilitate the influx of skilled workers from abroad.
Roche acknowledged that there was an "international scramble" to attract IT experts, and said that economically driven migration could bring "substantial overall benefits" for growth, and the economy of the country. She did not comment however on whether or not the current skills shortage could be resolved within the UK's existing workforce.