Controversial immigration loophole under legal spotlight

A court case that I covered this week could bring the immigration strategies of overseas businesses into the spotlight.

Intra Company Transfers are used by multi-national businesses to bring staff to the UK from non-EU countries.

The IT industry is the biggest user of this method of bringing in staff, which is seen by many as a loophole in immigration rules.

Indian IT service providers bring thousands of staff from India to the UK every year to work on IT services contracts. These workers cost less than their equivalents in the UK band it allows the Indian suppliers to do business at a lower cost.

But there are rules. These include a minimum pay threshold designed to stop cheap labour being brought in an to allow UK workers to compete, as well as the rule that states a person can’t be brought in if there is a UK alternative.

The case in question involves a UK man claiming he was discriminated against by Indian IT services giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Court papers reveal that he has evidence that TCS is breaking the ICT rules when bringing in staff.

IT professionals in the UK campaign against the use of ICTs because it makes it difficult to get work.

In this case the claims do not involve IT staff but admin staff and some managers. He claims to have evidence of over 1000 workers that are in the UK despite not meeting ICT rules.
 According to freedom of information requests from website BackTheMac, which campaigns against abuse of the ICT rules, there are 35,565 ICTs in the UK from India out of a total of about 60,000. IT workers account for a large proportion of the ICT numbers.

In its latest figures, TCS revealed it has 276,195 global staff with 92.3% being Indian.
TCS has a bit over 4000 British staff but has over 10,000 UK-based staff.

Although the case is not about the alleged breach of ICT rules it will put them under the spotlight. TCS strongly denies the claims and the evidence, said to be on a TCS database, is not in the public domain.

This will be an interesting case to watch. Last year another Indian firm, Infosys, had to pay a $34m fine to US authorities in relation to breaking visa rules.