National Audit Office looks at IT work permit scheme abuse

The National Audit Office, the government's watchdog, is to meet with the Professional Contractors Group to discuss growing...

The National Audit Office, the government's watchdog, is to meet with the Professional Contractors Group to discuss growing concerns that employers are breaching work permit regulations by replacing British IT workers with lower-cost Indian contractors.

The meeting follows widespread concerns that government is issuing record numbers of work permits to overseas IT staff at a time when unemployment among British IT workers is also at record levels.

The PCG, which represents freelance IT staff, has claimed that employers are abusing the government’s inter-company transfer scheme, which offers fast-track visas to overseas employees with skills that would be unavailable in the UK.

Contractors and permanent IT staff have supplied evidence to the PCG that many of the overseas contractors brought in under the scheme have limited IT abilities, and lack the “company-specific” skills that the visa scheme requires.

"A lot of people are being put out of work and are being replaced by people on work permits. This is clear abuse," said Gurdial Rai of the PCG.

"In a lot of cases the software houses have been bringing over untrained staff, getting them trained up and then firing the permanent staff."

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