Government must make Intra Company Transfers cost more if it doesn't want to cap them

I was at the launch of the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) report into the level the government should set the cap on immigration.

Perhaps the most interesting part, particularly for the IT sector, is the fact that the MAC thinks that Intra Company Transfers (ICTs) should be included in the cap. Unlike David Cameron who recently said they will not be included. The report was completed before Cameron announced this.

MAC chair, David Metcalf said if the government is going to achieve its target of reducing non EU immigration to the UK to tens of thousands a year by the end of this parliament, it will have to reduce the number of ICT visas granted. This is because they make up a huge proportion of total long term immigration to the UK which stood at 196,000 people in 2009.

In the absense of a cap on ICTs the government will have to find other ways. So rather than manipulating the quantity of ICTs allowed, the government will have to make it more expensive for businesses to use the ICT scheme to bring workers in.

The options include:

Raising the minimum salary level for ICTs, which the government is apparently considering.

Increase the charge on companies getting certificates of sponsorship

Stopping companies including expenses in total pay calculation. This allows them to bring in cheap labour.

So in effect the market will decide. Indian suppliers might have to increase their prices.

Think tank Migrationwatch gave us its take on ICTs yesterday. It has similar vioews to those expressed by Metcalf today.