Feeds

Work permit fears doused

Still smouldering

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.