IT professionals were recently given a glimmer of hope with a proposal to set the minimum salary for immigrant workers in the UK using the Intra Company Transfer (ICT) route at £40,000.
This promised to make it less attractive for businesses and offshore suppliers to bring offshore workers onshore. It was widley welcomed in the UK IT profession.
But according to the Sunday Times, IT workers on ICTs will get their own very special pay threshold. This will be £24,000, according to the report. This is where it is now.
Last week the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), released its report on the level the government should set its proposed immigration cap. This is to enable the government to reach its target of bringing inward immigration to the UK down to tens of thousands per year by the end of this parliament. It was 196,000 in 2009.
I was at the launch and I asked about the absence of ICTs from the cap. Professor David Metcalf, who chairs the committee, said the government will have to reduce the use of ICTs if it is to meet its target. He said if there is no cap the government will have to make it more expensive for businesses to use ICTs. For example the £40,000 pay threshold.
If the pay threshold is not to be raised , what will the government do? Raise the cost of certificates of sponsorship is one option.
IT professionals make up a massive proportion of ICTs. Take a look at these stats to see how many people came to the UK on ICTs over the last decade and what they were doing.
The Sunday Times article says that IT workers will be allowed to move to Britain for up to a year as long as they earn at least £24,000.
But the fact that it is only for up to a year could be a way the government can fudge its immigration promise. Long term immigration is people that come for over a year.
The government has said it wants net migration to come down to tens of thousands. Will short term immigration be included?
Thousands of IT workers in the UK using ICTs are only in the UK to be trained so they can return offshore to do jobs remotely.
Offshore suppliers will be able to continue to send workers to the UK to be trained to replace UK workers.