Your chance of going on-site to UK gets bleak

By SiliconIndia  |   Friday, 21 August 2009, 02:25 Hrs   |    6 Comments
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Your chance of going on-site to UK gets bleak
Bangalore: Following the allegation on Indian tech firms by several British trade lobbyists for misusing the 'intra-company-transfer' rules by replacing the UK workers at wages lower than prescribed levels in the country, UK government is set to evaluate immigration rules proposed by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

UK, which is one of the top export markets for India's over $40-billion software industry, had granted around 45,766 work permits to workers coming to the country through intra-company-transfer route last year. The majority of intra company transfers were for Indian nationals, who account for 69 percent of the permits granted through this route. Almost half (48 percent) of intra-company transfers were for Indian nationals in just one occupation - software professionals.

Top Indian tech firms including TCS, Infosys, Wipro and Tech Mahindra serve British customers such as BT, British Petroleum and British Airways by sending Indian professionals to the country on short-term project assignments. With more stringent norms, these companies may have to employ more local UK workers instead of sending their Indian staff for onsite projects. Ann Swain, Chief Executive, Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) said, "Companies are even allowed to pay these workers offshore in foreign currencies, so intra company transfers are potentially very easy to exploit in order to bring cheap foreign labour into the UK."

The MAC report submitted by MAC's Chairman, Professor David Metcalf to UK's Home Secretary recommended that the threshold salary levels for allowing entry of a graduate skilled worker should be raised from around 17,000 British Pound currently, making it tougher to earn points needed for allocation of work permits. Metcalf said, "We believe that the earnings thresholds should rise in line with earnings inflation. We recommended to raise the minimum threshold for gaining 10 points to 24,000 British Pound per annum, and minimum threshold for gaining 15 points to 28,000 British Pound per annum."

Nasscom, the Indian software industry lobby said that the recommendations would help in fixing the loopholes in the system. Som Mittal, President, Nasscom said, "The issue of salary, at least 20,000 British Pound a year as minimum wage for an employee going to the UK is also acceptable as less than 0.2 percent of the current ICT employees going to the UK are at a salary less than that. This measure has been put in place to check abuse,"

The report also recommends that migrants coming to UK under intra-company-transfer route cannot have a right to permanent residence. Under the current rules, after five years of working in the UK on the intra-company transfer route or any other route under tier-II, it is possible to be granted permanent residence. Meanwhile, Indian IT workers in UK feel that such recommendations are not required. "Tier-II visas without the right to settlement will lead to exploitation of skilled professionals, who will have to pay taxes but will not be able to settle in the UK," said Amit Kapadia, Executive Director of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) Forum in UK.

However, MAC's recommendations are pure advisory and the office of Home Secretary may or may not accept them. Chris Dix, Regional Director - South Asia and the Gulf, UK Border Agency said, "We need to remember that these are only recommendations at this stage and the government is considering the report before responding formally. Till now, no any decision has been taken, so it would be very early to speculate on the government's response."

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Reader's comments(6)
1: I think its high time these matters were taken up by the Indian govt with UK. British companies like RBS, Tesco etc should not be allowed to open shops in India and sell their stuff if Indian companies are not allowed to sell theirs. Also Indian software companies should come out of this service delivery and bottom line for the stock market mind set and focus on products and innovation. This is a move by a strong lobby of contractors in UK who anyway would not want to see Indians take up jobs and bring down their obnoxious daily rates. Good for them and bad for British companies as their cost of doing business would rise.
Posted by:arvind - 21 Aug, 2009
I am a UK contractor. What may seem to you an 'obnoxious daily rate' is a fair wage if you live in a country where housing costs GPP 250,000 for a modest 2 bed house (you can more than double that in London) petrol costs over GBP 1 per litre, heating kerosene GBP 0.75 per litre etc.

How would you feel if, say for example, Chinese coders were brought into Indian companies at a third of your rates?
John Bull Replied to: arvind - 22 Aug, 2009
Your points are agreeable to some extent John. But in India also prices of houses are going up, minimum 2 bedroom house in good localities starting at 25 lacs indian rupees. Petrol here costs 50 rupees a litre, vegetables 50 rupees a kilo. What a normal man will earn and save? Indian companies should pay the same salary to an Indian as they would to a British if they are sending an Indian to UK.
Shirshak Replied to: John Bull - 27 Aug, 2009
4: I hope its hight time for indian govt to start investing in Tech related project and provide jobs to the youngstars.. we have lot of technical resources which is been used by other countries.
Posted by:sreenivas - 21 Aug, 2009
5: Nice post thanks for sharing the info on going to UK on site get bleak, some useful info shared here.
Posted by:Tag44 - 20 Aug, 2009
6: its really very early to say that chance of going on-site to UK will get bleak. Let's wait, till government take the final call.
Posted by:manav - 20 Aug, 2009