Following the news last week that BT had replaced British contractors with imported workers from overseas, a Home Office review into the rules surrounding migration has concluded that employers should be made to advertise vacancies in the UK before they can import staff to fill them.

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies submitted BT’s actions to the Migration Advisory Committee. They feel that the intra-company transfer system “inhibits job creation in the UK” and “undercuts” wages of UK workers.

Whilst giving evidence they said, “The Home Office should clampdown on practices which make it difficult to ensure workers brought to the UK on intra-company transfers are being paid at the UK market rate. These include paying workers in foreign currencies, in offshore bank accounts or providing accommodation in lieu of pay.”

Manager of the Professional Contractors Group (PCG), John Brazier said of the BT revelations, “Contractors are losing out, and in a recession, action needs to be taken to protect livelihoods.”

However, in terms of the recession, fresh data from two IT staffing groups has shown that the IT skills market is beginning to show signs of recovery. Powerchex said they saw a higher number of jobs offered to IT contractors in May than any other sector. Meanwhile, the REC Report on Jobs has been released which showed that even though the number of contract opportunities has shrunk overall, demand for IT contractors has, at best, remained steady, but appears to be on the increase. The report also showed that the most in-demand contractors last month were SharePoint, .NET and CNC specialists.

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