Immigration Gap - Home Affairs Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by Kay Minder


  1.0  My submission is in relation to the Immigration Cap that you are investigating, in particular the impact of Intra Company Transfers (ICTs) on those people working in the Technology Sector.

1.1 I hope this email enables to you better understand the concerns that so many of us within the IT sector have. Many of us are fearful of the future because we are finding that companies are using a method of resourcing that excludes us.

2.0 I currently work for a High Street Bank in their IT department. Last year my employer made 900 of my colleagues redundant, earlier this year it made a further 200 redundancies and two weeks ago we were told that out of 3,000 staff in the UK 1,000 would be made redundant. One of the factors that is driving these redundancies is my company's new resourcing model which makes extensive use of Indian 3RD party vendors, like Tata and Infosys.

  2.1 If a programme or project manager needs a technical resource he will not place an advert in the internal jobs board so other internal employees can apply for it nor will he make an external hire, instead he will forward a job spec to a resource manager in India who will contact an Indian IT supplier and they will provide the resource and arrange his transfer to the UK.

  2.2 My company is undergoing a massive technology transformation, it is running several large scale programmes which will cost several billion pounds.

  My employer is not in a position to simply reduce headcount but it is able to make so many of us redundant and not hire any British workers because these India IT companies are providing it with the man power it needs. I know one programme which had a team of two UK employees and approximately 12-15 Indian contractors working in London.

  3.0 I am sure you know the statistics but I simply cannot understand how in 2008, during a recession, when companies were stopping IT spend, sacking contractors and permanent employees the UK market could absorb 30,000 non EU IT workers who were given the right to work here via the ICT route.

  3.1 The basic fact is that its cheaper to operate this way. The idea that the vast majority of these 30,000 employees have unique skills is simply not true. The majority are undertaking Business and System Analysis work and technical development work which require skill sets which can be readily found here in the UK from unemployed IT professionals.

  3.2 What I find most appalling is the fact these companies do not hire British workers. If they do claim to have a large number of British workers these are actually people who worked for a company that has outsourced its entire IT operation, including its employees, to an Indian IT vendor. I've only met handful (8-10) British nationals who were hired by an Tata or Infysos. And I am excluding those people who gained British nationality because they were working in the UK for an Indian IT vendor.

  3.3 Surely if these companies wish to operate in the UK, take advantage of its infrastructure and resources there should be an obligation for these companies to give British workers a chance?

  3.4 This doesn't make sense to me—would Honda be allowed to build a plant in the UK and staff it almost exclusively with its existing workers from Japan? Why are these Indian IT companies able to do the same? Aside from cheap labour for their clients, what else are they offering? Jobs which would have gone to UK citizens are now going to Indian nationals. Skills which UK nationals would gain are not being lost.

  3.5 In 2008 when they vendors were granted 30,000 ICT visas how many British workers did they hire? Did they advertise in the UK for even a tenth of the roles they were given ICT visas? They don't advertise for roles in the UK. I know because often on our project after we've completed a resource profile we contact our colleagues in India inform them of our needs and the next day they forward details of several Indian candidates. They don't bother to look if there is a UK national who can do they work.

  3.6 With more and more companies using ICT workers it has become harder and harder for young people to find work in this sector. Why would a company bother to spend time and money to train an IT graduate when they can use an Indian IT vendor to do they work in the UK? IT graduates have an unemployment rate of 17% compared to an average rate of 10%. Its because the vast number of IT jobs are being taken up by people working in the UK on ICT. The abuse of the ICT system and the offshoring of jobs to places like India—so the work is done in India—is slowing killing the any opportunity of British workers to find a career in the IT sector.

  4.0 Long term the UK will simply loose the vast majority of technical expertise. How can the UK labour force expect to sustain any level of technical knowledge if:

    (i) Graduates are unable to find IT work, and

    (ii) those people who have been made redundant or are keen to move jobs to increase their skillset are unable to do so because the companies like, Marks and Spencer, HSBC, BT, are using Indian IT vendors to provide technical resources and these vendors have no interest in hiring British workers.

  4.1 What makes any reasonable person believe that in a recession with job cuts and with companies cutting pay spending the IT sector in the UK could absorb 30,000 extra IT professionals with no impact on existing workers here in the UK.

  For example, on my company's internal jobsite there are 64 jobs advertised—of these only 5 are in the UK based, the rest are for jobs in India even though my employer doesn't have any business there (it recently sold its Indian business to another Bank). Its simply moving as many jobs to India.

  5.0 A large company like my employer, which is spending billions on new IT projects, is only advertising five internal jobs, is making 1,000 of its UK IT employees redundant, and not making any external hires. How can UK IT professionals expect a career when companies, like my employer during a period of high IT spending is sacking British workers and using Indian IT vendors to provide it with the manpower they need. How can any sane person claim UK workers are not affect by ICT workers?

  5.1 Long term, 5-10 years from now,, where does that leave the UK's general level of technical expertise? How can anyone expect a career in this sector which Indian IT vendors, who have become a large segment of the IT sector import their workers?

  5.2 Viewing the 2010 salary survey from Robert Walters at page 32—it becomes clear that pay in every sector remained at the same level as 2009 or increased but those working in IT have seen a decrease of approx 5-10% across all job types and levels.

  6.0 I recognize that the ICT is a valuable way for employees to gain international experience and for employers to bring highly talented staff into the UK but it must not be abused in this way. The fact 66% of all ICT are awarded to a small group of companies, operating in the same sector, and the sheer number shows that something is wrong. If we believe these companies—that they cannot find these skills in the UK (which I believe is false) then we have an opportunity to train and develop British employees so we will not need to depend on ICT. However, there should be some mechanism to stop a company importing 4000 people each year.

  6.1 I understand that employees in the UK via ICT are paid a net salary directly ie that they don't pay any tax—this is handled by their employer. I don't know if this is legal or not but this is what I have been told.

I urge you to do something about this problem.

October 2010

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