The number of non-EU IT workers arriving in the UK has tripled since the dotcom boom. Statistics uncovered by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the rate of foreign (non-EU) IT workers who entered the UK last year has increased almost three times since the onset of the current recession.

The data shows that from 12,726 in 2000, the work permits issued to IT workers from non-European Union countries increased to 35,430 in 2008. APSCo adds that the number continues to increase significantly despite the current economic situation, which has led to thousands of UK IT workers losing their jobs. However, the statistics uncovered by recruitment trade body APSCo also revealed that the number of non-EU IT workers coming to the UK in 2008 decreased by 8% from its high point of 38,450 in 2007.

APSCo also states that the data indicates that the new points-based immigration system introduced in 2008 seems to have very minimal effect on minimizing the entry of foreign (non-EU) IT workers coming to the UK. The vast majority of non-EU IT workers (80%) coming to the UK are on intra-company transfers, through which companies move IT workers between offices in different countries.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, says: “It seems crazy that with the economy in a severe downturn and thousands of IT workers having already lost their jobs we are still bringing three times as many foreign IT workers to the UK than during the dotcom boom when we had a chronic skills shortage.”

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