The Home Office has set up a special unit to crack down on unscrupulousemployers falsifying applications under the fast track visa scheme to save onIT skills costs. There is increasing concern that some organisations are sacking UK ITworkers and replacing them with cheaper contractors from overseas. According to the Professional Contractors Group, which represents theinterests of IT and engineering contractors, these employers are abusing theFast Track Work Permit scheme, which was set up by the Home Office as WorkPermits (UK) to tackle a perceived skills shortage in the IT sector. Julia Onslow Cole, an immigration partner at CMS Cameron McKenna, said:”The Home Office recognises that there are a minority of unscrupulousemployers who are abusing the system and has determined to crack down on fraudby setting up a special unit to deal with this issue.” Currently there is little being done to discourage companies from falsifyingapplications. “There are no onerous penalties being meted out toemployers, but once the Home Office takes action it is hoped that penaltieswill be imposed, including being blacklisted,” said Onslow Cole. When the Fast Track Work Permit scheme was introduced 18 months ago therewas a national shortage of qualified IT staff. Since then there has been arecession in the IT industry and an estimated third of contractors are now outof work. Yet some employers are continuing to claim they cannot find anyonefrom the UK to fill vacant posts. Ann Swain, chief executive of the Association of Technology StaffingCompanies, said: “There are some areas of IT where there is a continuingskills shortage, for example in the areas of e-commerce and intranet building,but with a third of IT contractors unemployed, we should not be importingskills we don’t need.” A skills sector panel for Work Permits (UK) constantly reviews developmentsin the IT industry to ensure that those being hired from abroad meet the skillsshortage criteria. ATSCO and the PCG suggest IT contractors and theirrepresentative bodies keep the panel informed about the latest developments inIT skills and technology. By Sara Bean Employers abuse visa scheme to import overseas workersOn 1 Mar 2002 in Blacklisting, Personnel Today Related posts: Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Over 1,000 UK redundancies expected at G4S Cash SolutionsSecurity company G4S is planning to cut more than a quarter of jobs in its cash handling business amid the… Immigration minister: Get your sponsor licence applications in nowThe minister for future borders and immigration has advised employers wishing to continue to recruit skilled workers from abroad next…
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