UK’s new work-permit norms to affect Indian IT staff

Ensuring jobs for local talents, UK is looking to implement a new work permit system for reducing the number of positions available for migrants. The move would adversely affect the Indian IT companies to send their employees to work onsite at their UK customers’ premises, reported The Economic Times.

The new system is expected to reduce the number of positions available for migrants by 200,000 apart from introducing several stringent measures for immigration. "While existing onshore workers are already scrambling to extend their work permits before November 27, the point based system will make it very tough for new IT workers to obtain these permits," said a software professional in a leading Indian IT company, requesting anonymity. He also said that the UK government wants to ensure that local skilled workers are given preference before giving any permits to a foreign worker.
However, UK Border Agency stated that the tough point system is just one part of the biggest shake up to immigration and border security in 45 years.

India may be one of the worst affected countries by the new rule. UK-based Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo) finds that India accounted for almost 82 percent of the 38,450 work permits issued last year to IT workers from outside the European Union. ATSCo has also found that the number of foreign IT workers coming to UK has increased by 209 percent since 2003.

"The point-based system could force UK customers to work with local service providers. The practice or acquiring pre-emptive work permits by some service providers will also perish," said Sabyasachi S Satyaprasad, Founder and Director, Globalization Excellence Partners (GEP), a consulting firm.
India’s second largest IT firm Infosys is presently deploying around 4,500 professionals in UK. The company revealed that the new system will bring objectivity and more transparency in allocation of work permits. "As of now it will make the process more stringent, but firms such as Infosys have internal processes in place to deal with any compliance requirements," said Infosys HR associate VP, Eshan Joshi.

Indian firms will have to depend on the tier-2 of the system which deals with allocation of permits to company-sponsored candidates. "Tier-II of the points system will ensure that British jobseekers get the first shot at jobs and only those foreign workers we need will be able to come to the United Kingdom," UK Border Agency mentioned.

As part of reducing cost, most of British firms have been depending on India for offshore works. Customers such as Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which works with Infosys, have hundreds of Indian IT professionals working for them in UK.

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