Companies are abusing the government’s work permit scheme to recruit cheaper IT labour from overseas rather than invest in homegrown talent, according to trade union Amicus.
The union is calling on the government to tighten up work permit allocation, as this lack of skills investment could have long-term implications for UK competitiveness.
“Companies should not be allowed to treat the scheme as an opportunity to put short-term profits before long-term investment in the UK labour market,” says Amicus’s national officer for the IT sector, Peter Skyte.
Amicus points out that 30,000 work permits were issued last year, even though the number of IT workers has been dropping since 2001. The number of permits in 1995 was just 1,800.
Two-thirds of these workers are paid less than £30,000 a year – undercutting the £32,500 industry average pay of a UK IT professional.