The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCO) has criticised figures from the Home Office revealing that three times as many foreign IT workers came to the UK to work in 2008 than during the dot-com boom.
In 2008, 35,430 work permits were granted to IT workers from outside the EU – most of them to people from India. That compares with just 12,726 in 2000.
Ann Swain, CEO of APSCO, implied that by granting so many work permits the government had failed to protect the jobs of UK IT workers.
"It seems crazy that, with the economy in a severe downturn and thousands of IT workers having already lost their jobs, we are still bringing three times as many foreign IT workers to the UK than during the dot-com boom, when we had a chronic skills shortage,” she told the Press Association.
"A few years ago this may have been overlooked, but with IT jobs much scarcer, this is now a contentious issue."
However, the number of work permits granted to the IT sector during 2008 was down 7% compared with 2007. Plus, the wave of redundancies that struck the UK IT sector only began in the last quarter of 2008.
Information Age has heard anecdotal evidence that suggests the recession is now negatively impacting expatriate Indian IT workers, many of whom are being sent home after setting up life in the UK.