Make employers recruit in UK
Make employers recruit in UK before transferring workers from overseas offices, APSCo tells Home Office committee
Review of intra-company transfer work permits
APSCo submission to Home Office Migration Advisory Committee
Employers should be required by law to advertise vacancies in the UK first before transferring employees from overseas offices, thereby closing a major loophole in the immigration system, according to the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) in its submission to a Home Office review of the new points-based immigration system.
The Migration Advisory Committee, which advises the UK Border Agency on immigration policy, is currently conducting a review of the new points based immigration system which came into force last year.
According to data obtained by APSCo under the Freedom of Information Act, 29,240 non-EU IT workers were transferred to the UK in 2008 (three times as many than during the dot com boom) on work permits known as intra-company transfers. 83% of the total number of non-EU IT workers coming to the UK in 2008 (35,430) arrived on intra-company transfers.
Writing to the Migration Advisory Committee, APSCo said that the widespread use of intra-company transfers was inhibiting job creation in the UK.
According to APSCo, 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.
In its submission APSCo said that the Home Office should require absolute transparency and open-book accountancy from those companies utilising intra-company transfers to bring workers into the UK to ensure those workers were not undercutting the UK workforce.
Ann Swain, Chief Executive, APSCo, comments: This is an issue which APSCo has been highlighting for several years as the number of intra-company transfers has soared. The UK labour market has the capacity to meet the vast majority of these requirements, so companies should be recruiting here first before resorting to importing staff from overseas.
The purpose of the points based immigration system is to ensure that UK plc gets senior-level workers with unique company knowledge and specific expertise which are impossible to recruit locally. Home Office figures, however, show that most intra-company transfers in the IT sector are junior to mid-level workers who have skills which are in plentiful supply within the EU.
She adds: This review by the Migration Advisory Committee is an acknowledgement that the points based immigration which was labelled as tough when it was introduced is being abused and needs tighter controls.