Feeds

Work permit fears doused

Still smouldering

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.