The outlook for migrants to the UK is not quite as bleak as your article ‘Immigration changes may lead to future skills exodus from UK’ (Personnel Today, 13 April) suggests.
While the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will now no longer allow staff on the intra-company transfer (ICT) route under Tier 2 to count their time towards settlement, there is no bar on switching to Tier 2 general which does allow for settlement. The idea behind ICT is to allow for rapid movement of personnel to fill short-term positions, or work on specific contracts.
Surely it is right if this changes and either employee or company require a more lengthy stay, that this should be assessed against the Tier 2 general criteria, including the resident labour market test? This gives a fairer chance to British citizens – a stated aim of the government.
I have, in the past, been quick to criticise UKBA, but the ICT changes have come about as a request from industry. My only criticism of the skills transfer route is its apparent limitation to ‘graduate occupations’. I believe UKBA is moving in the right direction to be more responsive and would suggest anyone unhappy keeps up the pressure on it to change.
Ian Westwood, director and immigration consultant, The Westwood Organisation