Hopes for level playing field for UK IT workers fading after U-turn on immigrant worker pay

Last month I blogged the news that the government was raising the minimum salaries that immigrant IT workers in many roles have to be paid to be allowed to stay in the UK.

Some of these rises, which were due to kick in today (06 April), were significant and were welcomed by IT workers who feel they cannot compete with overseas workers on price.

But these new figures were only published briefly before being pulled because of “errors.”

Steve Lamb, regional operations manager at the UK Border Agency said: at the time: “We have been alerted to errors in two of the recently published Codes of Practice and these are now being corrected. In the meantime, the previous codes have been reinstated onto our website.”

Here are some examples of the increases to salaries that were published on March 01 which were planned for 2011, but then removed.

-Senior Systems Administrator increased 47%
-Software Engineer increased 22%
-Senior Software Engineer increased 29%

It now appears that the UKBA has reverted to the 2008 figures. 

Here are two examples of the U-Turn.

1 – The minimum salary that had to be paid to an IT or IS director coming to work in the UK was £83,200 a year in 2010. The updated figures for 2011 published at the beginning of March said this role should receive at least £92,628, which is about an 11% increase. But these new figure were pulled within days ands figures now published and coming show the role minimum salary to be £83,200 again.

2 – Minimum pay for a computer services manager leapt from £43,600 in 2010 to £53,516 at the beginning of March only to revert to £43,600 now.

The list goes on. But don’t trust me, see it for yourself.

Click old and latest.pdf  for the salaries that immigrant workers should be paid from today and click newbutpulled.pdf to see the minimum salaries announced at the beginning of March, which were later pulled.


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I'm beginning to wonder whether this is grand, serial ineptitude or whether it is a deliberate political position being adopted here... what the hell is going on?

Figures for managers brought in as ICTs are irrelevant anyway, because managers don't offshore their own jobs. The vast majority of these imported computer trainees are inexperienced junior staff who are (a) filling roles that would previously have been occupied by recent UK IT graduates, or (b) being "trained" to replace experienced UK IT staff, prior to the jobs being offshored to India. In both cases, there is no shortage of the relevant skills in the UK, because either we have plenty of unemployed IT graduates to take on the junior roles, or we already have people in the more skilled roles who are being deliberately replaced with foreign imports.

You only need to look at TCS and its history of taking over outsourced projects and shipping in its own staff for a few months before shipping them - and the jobs/skills/career opportunities - offshore permanently.

This has to be deliberate policy, and somebody somewhere must surely be enjoying some hefty back-handers from the fat consultancies to sustain this massive betrayal of the entire UK IT workforce.

The low 2008 salaries were based on the national lower quartile salaries. The pulled ones look like 2010 national median salaries. Even the higher national median ones are low when you realise that half of ICT IT workers go to London.

I think it clear from the NAO report on the UKBA and the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee questioning of the UKBA that their goal is to provide the best customer service to corporate customers and sell as many visas as possible. Ensuring compliance or protecting the resident workforce is well down the list. The senior civil servants seemed shocked that anyone should question this as long as the CBI are happy.

We shall doubtless see a number of politicians appointed to the boards of some major IT and outsourcing companies or employed as paid "advisers" when they retire from politics.