Damian Green reveals just how IT firms will sidestep new ICT rules

I watched the Channel 4 news last night and found something within Jon Snow’s interview with immigration Minister Damian Green very interesting.

They were discussing the government’s new rules on immigration, including the raising of the pay threshold for Intra Company Transfers (ICTs). It is now a minimum of £40,000 compared to £24,000 before.

Snow asked Green whether the £40,000 pay threshold rule would reduce the amount of workers being brought in on ICTs.

Green responded by saying he thinks that businesess will bring people in for less than a year. It sounded like he was giving suppliers tips on getting around the new rule. Although it is quite an obvious one.

Here lies the problem for many UK IT workers.

IT workers will come to the UK on short tern projects. They will also be able to bring staff to the UK to learn how to do a UK job which they can then perform remotely. And I am sure offshore suppliers might find a way to rotate staff.

So these workers will not show on long term immigration stats and they will not be a drain on UK resources. So the government looks good.

Not if you are an IT professional who could have his or her job offshored and you are given the nice job of training your replacement to do your job remotely.

Reducing the figures on long term immigration looks good for the government because many of the UK population are concerned about immigration and the potential drain it has on resources. But IT workers will be no happier with the new rules because it will still be difficult for them to compete on price.

As a result it will still limit the prospects for the UK IT industry by reducing jobs for homegrown talent.

So it doesn’t look like the pay threshold will do anything. Why does it not apply to all ICTs regardless of how long they are in the UK?

Association of Professional Staffing Companies (Apsco), which has campaigned about ICT abuse for years questioned the pay threshold being set at £40,000 .

Ann Swain, Apsco CEO said: “Whether the £40,000 minimum salary will reduce the number of intra-company transfers in the IT sector is debatable. The average UK wage for IT professionals is close to £40,000, and it is questionable how many workers earn less that that once they arrive.”

“We will be seeking clarity from the Government on how the £40,000 minimum will be reviewed.”