Tories limit immigration, let the debate begin

The Tories have set their stall to reduce the immigration of non EU citizens to the UK.

With a little help from their new friends, the liberals, the government has cut the number of permitted immigrants over the next 12 months by 5%. An interim cap while the government decides what to do.

The Tories promised a cap in their manifesto.

Thousands of IT workers enter the UK from countries like India using the Intra Company Transfer (ICT) route. This is where workers can enter the UK without a visa if the employer has a UK operation.

This blog has stirred a lot of debate over the issue and I welcome comments from all corners of the IT industry. And for that matter anybody else with an opinion.

Let the debate begin. Is it good or bad for IT in the UK?

IT outsourcing service providers regularly use this route.

It is very controversial and there is loads written about it. Thousands of UK IT professionals are often overlooked or become surplus to requirements as a result of offshore workers undercutting them.

The counter argument is that UK companies need the skills on offer so a cap would be be bad news.

Some think caps on IT immigration will be the UK’s loss.

Everybody wants to cut costs right now so limits on offshore workers in the UK might make life more difficult for CEOs, CFOs, CIOs. And of course public sector organisations.

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Firstly, the cap does not apply to intra company transfers, and the UKs commitments under GATS mean a cap or quota cannot be enforced. It is also possible that the cap on other tier 1 and tier 2 routes might not be enforceable.

Secondly the cap appears to have been miscalculated and will still result in far more economic migrants this year than last.

Thirdly IT is one area that has no shortages and research for the home office released in March put IT and construction as the two areas that UK employers were least likely to need non EU workers for.

The use of the intra company transfer system to bring in large numbers of IT workers to work at third party client sites is purely about paying less for foreign workers who are tied to their sponsors and avoiding taxes. The workers need more protection to ensure they are not underpaid and discriminated against. And permanent migrants, residents and UK businesses need a level playing field to compete against companies that take advantage of lax rules around intra company transfers.

Correcting my second point, the cap for tier 2 general will include extensions as well as new applicants so it is much larger.

this sounds like the way we do it in Queensland as well.