Three times as many foreign IT workers came to the UK in 2008 than during the dot-com boom, according to the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCO).
Last year, 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, says 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 lost their jobs, we are 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 actually down 7% on the previous year. 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 impacting expatriate Indian IT professionals who were working ‘on-shore’ as part of outsourcing contracts but are now having to return home.