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Labour are back in - what with IR35 etc... it's time to get out
by Colette Browne at 11:34 27/06/01 (Conference Papers)
Global Visas provide tourist, student, employment and migration services - and increasingly we are sitting in the middle of the fast changing IT employment market. Global Visas are the market leader, with the highest OISC accreditation in the UK (which simply means we are registered and approved to offer the highest standard of advice) and we offer services to both overseas foreign nationals, as well as to UK citizens wishing to migrate.
Certainly we believe that there is a shortage of skilled IT and engineering workers across the globe that is affecting the UK and all other nations. Countries are competing for talent and as the competition for highly skilled workers increases globally, the DTI are currently promoting Britain to IT skilled workers in the US, Asia, and India. The UK Department for Education and Employment expects an 80% increase in work permit applications for IT skilled workers compared to last year.

There are currently many myths surrounding immigration and people entering the UK on work permits, in particular within the IT sector. There is also a great debate about whether IT people are migrating from the UK as a result of IR35. Global Visas believe IR35 was the Government's knee jerk response to a whole business sector that did not comply with traditional ideas - for instance: one factory, one boss, 100 jobs for life.

We receive about 2 - 300 calls a week from IT industry employees who are simply not up to speed or are confused with the ever-changing employment legislation in the UK.

Global Visas intends to confirm or deny the common myths regarding IT sector employment...

MYTH 1 - More and more IT people and engineers are leaving the UK permanently

True!

Due to IR35 and recession fears, some client companies are no longer prepared to pay top dollar. Coupled with the fact that there are genuine global shortages of skilled IT and engineering workers is it any wonder that Global Visas have doubled their migration department in the last six months, both in cases and numbers of case workers to handle the demand?

Global Visas has noticed an increase in IT and engineering personnel who are seeking to migrate - the most popular destinations are: the US, Canada, Australia and NZ. We are able to provide initial advice as well as help with the complicated migration process. Migration rules and procedures are constantly changing. For instance, in Australian very shortly, migration applicants will have to go through offices in Canberra which may make the process more difficult and time consuming. Furthermore, we are finding that the US green card and 5/6 year US entry visas are becoming easier to obtain than they have been in previous years as the shortage of skilled IT people continues on a global basis - despite the current US economic climate.

MYTH 2 - Companies are refusing to change IT contracts from 'manpower' to 'IT solutions'

False!

This is simply not our experience. Global Visas are finding that increasingly clients are able to offer and accept workers into 'solutions'-based agreements for work / projects. This is a change from the traditional 'manpower provision' agreement where a named individual (aka 'disguised employee') was what the client required.

As Shout99 readers will be aware, contractors currently working as a named individual (even through a limited company) are potentially liable for IR35. Whilst many major clients are still utilising contractors on a name only basis, Global Visas are receiving more enquiries from companies seeking to use foreign nationals who require a work permit. This news is not all bad for contractors though, simply because some of those seeking workers are actually contractors themselves who are looking for overseas nationals to assist them service their 'solutions' contracts.

In a 'solutions'-based contract the wording is usually such that it allows for anyone within the limited company to provide the solution. The limited company business is expanding and by making the work interchangeable there is scope for anyone within the company to provide IT services.

It is therefore important that any contractors moving towards 'solution'-based work are able to employ new people on a work permit basis. In our experience clients need the skills and are slowly changing their perspective on this. It is clear to Global Visas that there are big changes in the wording of client contracts - we must see all client / IT contracts prior to them being submitted for approval for work permits. Increasingly Global Visas see new contracts from big client companies allowing for 'solutions'.

MYTH 3 - The DFEE are running a fast track system for foreign nationals to allow them into the UK without vetting

True and False.

The UK Government tracks and lists where there are skill shortages. The updated list from DFEE includes:

ANALYST PROGRAMMER
BUSINESS ANALYST
DATABASE SPECIALIST
IT NETWORK SPECIALIST
SOFTWARE ENGINEER

Skill sets required are listed as:
Active Server Pages/Active X
All Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) packages (especially Siebel, Clarify, and Oracle CRM)
Broadvision e-commerce tools
C and C++ programming languages
Java/Java Script
Oracle
Peoplesoft
Perl/Perl Script
SQL Server
Visual Basic/Visual C++
XML/DHTML

This list is updated by the DfEE and not Global Visas!

Clearly it is the newer skills that are most in demand - which of course is the same across the world.

Anyone employing a person full-time for work that falls into any of the skills listed above does not need to advertise the position and the company will be allocated a work permit if that employee can prove their qualifications.

For jobs on the shortage list the person you wish to employ must have either a relevant degree or a degree with at least 12 months relevant work experience obtained outside of the UK. Foreign students studying at a UK university and with relevant qualifications in relation to the above list will probably be eligible for an automatic work permit if they find a company to engage them.

MYTH 4 - Once people have a work permit they simply set up on their own and work for less!

False!

The work permit is allocated to the company - not the individual. Global Visas constantly receive calls from highly skilled foreign nationals who are seeking to obtain a work permit for themselves, but we are unable to help. To be clear, the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) issues a work permit for a named individual. However the work permit is 'owned' by the sponsoring company and not the individual themselves. So if that person leaves the company's employment they would then lose their employment status in the UK.

Rules for employment are simple - the worker must be employed by the company at the market rate and offered the same benefits as the rest of the company's employees

Hopefully, the above goes a little way to explain how the system works - the Government has shown it is inflexible in its determination to expand the IT sector by using overseas labour - recession will only make this a bigger issue.

Some of you may view these constant changes as a threat, but for many this may also provide opportunity. If you are interested in looking at any opportunities in the global economy then Global Visas can offer you migration services. We are pleased to answer any questions you might have in the Conference Hall or contact us directly:

For migration information and advice contact:
To USA - Katrina@globalvisas.com
Elsewhere - Mick@globalvisas.com

For information about obtaining a visa for a foreign national for your limited company:
Kellie@Globalvisas.com or Beenu@globalvisas.com

For information regarding any immigration issue contact:
Carl@globalvisas.com

--
Colette Browne
www.globalvisas.com

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