Work Permit Rules
Companies are constantly flouting he Government’s work permit rules.
Of even more relevance to us here is the fact that over 13,000 of the 22,700 IT Work Permits handed out here last year were given out to Indians.
We are not against Indians per se, although we do see them as business rivals.
It is just that Government said that bringing in migrant workers wouldn’t impact UK IT workers as these were for skills that we didn’t have.
This has not been the case. That’s because large amounts of UK IT workers are now unemployed and rates are plunging. That’s as you would expect if the supply of labour increases.
It is also true that employers have been mainly abusing the scheme and hiring workers for their cheaper price. That was not the way the scheme was to work.
Current Work Permit Rules
I would say that most IT workers would be happy with the current Work Permit rules. Under those only those who have company specific knowledge are allowed in. Joining them are those with skills that UK companies have advertised for and just cannot get in the UK.
One would expect that the bulk of those would come from the USA and not from India. That’s because the USA tends to have the new skills first, and sell a lot more packages into the UK than India.
There is no way, as well, that they should have handed out 23,000 IT Work Permits last year under the current rules.
The big problem is the Work Permits department and the Government – not the rules.
The Work Permits department is not competent to check to see if those coming in fit the categories. Wily UK and Indian companies can easily outfox them.
They have also refused to prosecute even the most willful abuses of the system.
Ireland recently suspended its equivalent system of Intra Company Transfers because companies were breaking the ‘spirit of the law’.
Genuine Skills Shortage
The other problem is that the Government believes that there is a genuine Skills shortage in the U. That’s despite the fact that all IT skills are now off the Skills Shortage list.
E-commerce minister Stephen Timms even said to the Bangalore Trade Fair last autumn that “There is no longer an IT Skills shortage in the UK’.
So, how can they issue 23,000 visas a year when there are officially no IT skills in shortage?
Nothing Against Indians
I repeat again that we have nothing personal against Indians. I‘ve worked with, and made friends with, many Indian IT workers and employed some as well.
As everyone knows, there is usually an outburst of anti-foreigner feeling any time there is a downturn in the economy anywhere and when unemployment is high.
Considering the amount of unemployed people in IT there has been surprisingly little of it – and that is good.
However, we feel that the main people who are betraying us are:-
- the Government we elected to look after our interests, and
- the Work Permits department whose wages we pay.
Indians are merely taking advantage of the opportunities given to them by our Government and Work Permits department. That’s at the expense of UK IT workers.