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MP raises concern of British IT workers being replaced with cheap foreign labour

2nd December 2010
MP raises concern of British IT workers being replaced with cheap foreign labour

Local MP Gordon Henderson has raised in Parliament the concern of IT workers that some companies have abused the system of intra-company transfers to replace British workers with cheaper foreign labour.

Mr Henderson raised the issue following a complaint from a constituent who was made redundant from his IT job when his company transferred foreign workers to Britain, had their British IT team train them to do their jobs, then made the British workers redundant before transferring the foreign  workers, and their jobs, overseas.

Mr Henderson highlighted his concerns by asking a question after a statement on migration control made this week by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, who announced a cap on immigration for non-EU citizens, but excluded intra-company transfers.

The exchange went as follows:-

Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne and Sheppey) (Con): Does my right hon. Friend recognise that many British workers in the IT industry are very concerned about losing their jobs as a result of intra-company transfers? Can she reassure them that she will crack down on the abuse of the system that has been witnessed by some IT companies?

Mrs May: As I said in my statement and have said in response to a number of questions, we are tightening the rules relating to tier 2 entry to the United Kingdom, as well as those relating to intra-company transfers. We will ensure that those who come here really are the skilled and highly skilled workers who are needed. However, my hon. Friend's point echoes one made by a number of other Members about the need to ensure that businesses in the United Kingdom seek the skills that are available here.

Mr Henderson said:

“I was pleased that the Government has announced plans to reduce by 2015 immigration from non-EU countries to tens of thousands, rather than the hundreds of thousands it was under the previous government.

“However, I was disappointed that intra-company transfers were excluded from the immigration cap that Theresa May announced, which is why I asked my question.

“The abuse of the intra-company transfer system by some IT companies is a scandal that has been going on for some time and was brought to my notice by a constituent who was himself made redundant when he was replaced by a foreign worker. My constituent has been unable to find another IT job since.

“Frankly I was waiting for the right time to raise the matter and Home Secretary’s statement was my opportunity. Having asked the question, I will continue to press the Government to crack down on companies who abuse the system and ensure that British businesses do employ qualified British workers when they are available.”

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