Feeds

Work permit fears doused

Still smouldering

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Work Permits UK (WPUK) has quelled industry fears that British IT workers are being undercut by immigrants employed on work permits on lower salaries.

The ITCE Sector Advisory Panel, which guides WPUK in its administration of the work permits system, has long disagreed with the way the agency calculates the going market rate to be used by WPUK officers to vet work permit applicants.

IT union Amicus, and the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo) complained last month that the system was unreliable and said firms were blagging work permits for cheap IT workers from overseas instead of employing local staff.

But at Tuesday's meeting of the advisory panel, members settled the matter.

ATSCo director Marilyn Davidson said: "What we agreed yesterday was the rates are right, so there shouldn't be a problem. If we agree the rates we use, then people should not be placed below the market rate," she said.

WPUK has based its market rates on recruitment advertisements placed in Computer Weekly.

Even before Amicus started complaining that one in six work permits were awarded below the going rate, the panel was questioning the quality of the data and the competence of WPUK. But both the data and WPUK were vindicated at Tuesday's meeting, according to those panel members that have spoken with The Register.

The panel was not able to find any better data source than Computer Weekly, and has accepted that WPUK cannot be blamed if the system is not 99.99 per cent accurate.

Speaking before the meeting, Matthew Dixon, who sits on the panel on behalf of the British Computer Society, said WPUK had been feeling the strain because it was under-resourced: "Those guys are generally trying to do the right thing."

However, he said: "The quality of the data is deeply challenging, so our ability to say what the going rate is, is quite tough."

Even if WPUK officers could be certain of the market rate, they had to assess work permit applications against a list of 60 IT occupations, while having knowledge of over 100 software platforms. The Register understands that the same officers assess applications across all five sectors that have advisory panels. In order to make just decisions, they need to intimately understand the different roles in the sector, but WPUK has been asking for better guidance from the panel since 2005. It asked again this week.

"The sector panel is there to help Work Permits UK make the right decisions, because Work Permits UK aren't experts," said one source.

"Work Permits get a lot of flack," said Davidson, "It's not until you sit on the panel that you realise the difficulty they face - they do the best job with the resources they've got."

The Home Office has still to report detailed figures on the approvals made by WPUK. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.