The coalition recently announced an immigration cap which has been met with some criticism. Now the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has stated that the cap will do little to reduce the number of non-EU IT workers who come to the UK. This is because the cap proposed by the government is exclusive of the intra-company transfer scheme which allows companies to transfer in workers from bases they have in other countries if that worker has skills which are not available in the UK.
APSCo said that figures show these intra-company transfers are responsible for over 80 per cent of foreign IT workers who come into the country on work permits. APSCo believes that there should be tougher rules governing these intra-company transfers.
Their chief executive, Ann Swain, said: “More than 80 per cent of non-EU IT workers coming to the UK on work permits are intra-company transfers, so if the Government doesn’t look at this issue, the cap will be little more than an empty gesture.
“APSCo has consistently argued that employers using intra-company transfers (ICTs) should be audited more rigorously to ensure workers being brought in are not undercutting UK market rates. The UK Border Agency, which has responsibility for enforcement, could do much more to investigate alleged abuses of the system.
She concluded: “We would prefer tightening up the intra-company transfer rules rather than an outright cap. A cap would be unwieldy and unresponsive to the market. What if an employer cannot fill an urgent, niche requirement but the cap on intra-company transfers has already been reached? The new rules will stop small UK-owned IT businesses from plugging skills gaps, but won’t stop IT giants with global office networks from bringing staff to the UK on an industrial scale.”