Overseas IT staff more than treble in five years

Overseas IT staff more than treble in five years

UK work permits for IT experts from outside the European Union continue to rise

The number of non-EU IT staff working in the UK has more than trebled in the last five years, according to the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCO).

In 2007, 38,450 permits were issued to IT staff from outside the EU, compared with 12,453 in 2002. Last year alone, the numbers rose by 14 per cent.

The majority of moves were transfers between international branches of the same company and 82 per cent were issued to workers from India.

The figures suggest that the implications of offshoring are more widespread than anticipated, said Anne Swain, chief executive of ATSCO.

“There was a fear that support functions would be the thin edge of the wedge and that mid-level IT roles would go offshore next, but what is happening is quite different. Foreign IT workers are actually coming to the UK to take these mid-level roles,” she said.

“The IT skills shortage issue is not as acute as during the dot com boom, so why is it that many more foreign IT workers are entering the country now than then? Our concern is that the British IT workforce is being bypassed and that this is damaging the long-term competitiveness of the UK IT industry.”