Whitehall to review IT work permits

The government has agreed to examine proposals to tighten the work permit system by imposing tougher requirements for companies...

The government has agreed to examine proposals to tighten the work permit system by imposing tougher requirements for companies to advertise for IT professionals in the UK before going overseas for staff.

Government officials told a meeting of employers and trade unions last week that they would consider proposals that businesses should be forced to place recruitment advertisements for UK-based staff in well-known publications and websites before transferring staff from overseas.

The news came as Work Permits (UK), the government agency that administers the scheme, confirmed plans to commission a rapid independent review of the work permit system, in the wake of rising concerns about abuse.

Trade unions and contractors' representatives claim that unscrupulous firms are exploiting the scheme by placing recruitment adverts in obscure journals and websites and then claiming they are unable to find staff with the right skills in the UK.

They said they were unhappy that the number of overseas IT staff brought to the UK under the intracompany transfer scheme had risen from 2,952 to 3,113 at a time of high IT unemployment.

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