Almost 30,000 non-EU technology workers came to the UK last year, sent to work for their companies’ subsidiaries here under intra-company transfers.
Most (70%) came from India, according to the Times.
Many of the new arrivals came for low and mid-level IT jobs, yet there are no significant skills shortages at these levels among British-born workers, prompting concern that British workers are losing out to “cheaper” foreign employees.
Ann Swain, chief executive of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies, said: “These figures show how easy it is for foreign companies to bypass the UK labour market.”
She added: “Foreign companies are supposed to pay workers brought in on intra-company transfers UK market rates but you have to wonder whether there is some economic benefit to transferring Indian workers from a low-wage economy to Britain.”
Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, defended intra-company transfers, saying that they make the UK an attractive place in which to do business.