Indian Tier 2 visa holders and claims of increased job competition for UK IT professionals

In a report by Computer Weekly it is claimed that UK IT professionals potentially face increased and unfair competition from Indian Tier 2 visa holders working for UK Employers with a Tier 2 Sponsorship LIcence, if the UK agrees a free trade deal with India, post-Brexit. Speaking in London recently, YK Sinha – India’s high commissioner to the UK – said that any future trade deal between Britain and India rests on Britain’s willingness to relax skilled worker visa rules.

Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment:

It does seem to be somewhat unlikely that the tier 2 visa requirements for Indian IT professionals and other tier 2 visa holders will be relaxed any time soon. In many cases employers need to complete a resident labour market test to show that there is no one suitable to fill the vacancy who already have the right to work in the UK. There are also specific salary requirements for tier 2 visa holders. In many cases Indian IT professionals will earn more than UK IT professionals.

If anything the UK Government is making it more and more difficult for employers with tier 2 sponsorship licences to employ skilled workers on tier 2 visas. On 6 April 2017 an immigration skills charge of £1,000 per year was brought in to make it even more expensive to employ overseas workers on tier 2 visas.

Officials in India, which has the sixth biggest economy in the world, said a free trade deal is ‘unlikely’ if Britain refuses to relax rules on the movement of Indian professionals wanting to work in the UK.

Sinha said: “India isn’t asking for unfettered access or unrestricted travel, but the free movement of professionals, doctors, technicians and engineers. I think both sides will benefit from this exchange and obviously it has to be a two-way exchange, not just one way.”

Tier 2 intra-company transfer visas

According to an article published by Computer Weekly, a large number of Indian skilled workers employed in the UK are IT professionals. Most of these are recruited by large IT tech firms as part of lucrative outsourcing partnerships with big Indian IT suppliers, including Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and HCL.

IT professionals hired to work in the UK from overseas – especially those from India – enter the country via Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) visas. This visa enables an offshore parent company, with a UK base, to bring overseas workers into Britain on a temporary basis.

Some UK IT professionals claim that the Tier 2 ICT visa enables companies to significantly cut staff costs, making it difficult for them to compete for jobs. Companies also stand accused of bringing overseas staff to the UK on ICTs, training them up for specific roles to perform remotely, before sending them back to India to replace more expensive UK staff.

Despite the UK government increasing the Tier 2 skilled worker visa salary threshold earlier this year, in a bid to deter companies from hiring from overseas by making it more expensive, there are claims mentioned in the Computer Weekly report that companies simply manipulate the system by ‘hiding’ expenses in migrants’ salaries and “not paying tax on them in the UK”. Is this really a genuine claim we wonder? Both the Home Office and HMRC check salaries being paid.

Some US IT professionals claim that they are affected by Indian skilled workers

In the US, IT professionals claim that the L1 visa category - similar in some ways to the Tier 2 UK ICT visa – is used a lot by Indian tech firms with operations in the US.

For several years, some US IT personnel have claimed that Indian tech firms in the US are using the L1 visa category to replace American workers with Indians.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Indian IT firms use the L1 visa category the most. However, in a bid to make it more difficult to come under the US L1 visa category, President Trump has introduced a string of changes that will make it more difficult to obtain an L1 visa.

The most notable of these changes is the supporting evidence that now needs to accompany to extend an L1 visa petition. In recent months, companies who rely on the L1 visa category to recruit overseas staff have reported an increase in requests for further evidence, while unannounced compliance checks have become far more frequent.

Workpermit.com can help Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences and Tier 2 Visas

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence obligations, workpermit.com can help.

More and more employers are facing sudden unannounced onsite inspections. Contact us for a copy of our free Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Compliance guide.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at london@workpermit.com