Overseas IT staff will contribute £16bn to the UK

Overseas IT staff will contribute £16bn to the UK

UK IT will become increasingly reliant on migrant labour by 2012, according to research

Highly-skilled IT and telecoms migrants will contribute £16.2bn to the sector by 2012, according to research.

The study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of recruitment firm Harvey Nash suggests that demand for e-commerce and software specialists will drive a surge in migrant IT workers who will be filling 160,000 jobs by 2012.

Employers must consider every possibility if they want the best staff, said John Whiting, managing director of Harvey Nash.

"From our perspective, we're having to search more proactively for talent," he said.

"Gone are the days of looking purely in the UK for large numbers of high-calibre staff, but seven or eight years ago this wasn't so difficult.This is something the UK needs to face up to. We're just not bringing in enough potential technical experts through the education system."

The number of highly-skilled international software professionals working in the UK has risen by 26,000 over the past seven years. Such jobs will primarily be filled by workers from India, says the research.