The national debate on the capping of overseas workers gathered a head of steam – dividing politicians, business experts and journalists’ opinions ahead of Theresa May’s (Home Secretary) announcement on 23 November 2010.
You may recall I posted a blog concerning this contentious issue recently (If the cap fits…)
Chris Humphries, Chief Executive of the Commission for Skills and Employment (UK CES) entered the debate by saying the cap is “pointless” because in reality he believes it will make little, or no, difference to overseas workers taking jobs from indigenous British people. Mr Humphries holds the view that the vast majority of jobs taken by non-UK nationals are from Europe which the Government can do nothing about because of open borders within the European Union.
In the end the capping measures announced by the Coalition Government appear to have been influenced by the pro-business lobby as the proposed cap will not apply to skilled non-EU workers who enter the UK through intra-company transfers (ICTs) – as long as they earn more than £40,000 a year – if planning to stay more than 12 months. Consequently, for many UK businesses a modest rise in the salaries of non-EU professional workers could provide a simple way of getting around the restriction…a gap in the cap.
Marilyn Davidson, director at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies, has thrown her view into the melting pot,
“Worries over immigration centre on low skilled workers being undercut [i.e. being usurped by less expensive overseas workers] so capping the flow of highly skilled workers seems a strange policy. By imposing an inflexible cap, the Government (would have been) damaging high value sectors of the economy where skills shortages can hinder growth”.
But what impact on the public sector…?
Well beware, all of this might mean the next time you’re considering going outside the UK and EU for a qualified child care social worker you may need to re-visit your approach to talent management…because we don’t have ICT’s in the public sector and therefore not the same gap to the cap. We’d also have to pay the worker over £40,000 a year – arguably not conducive to public sector retrenchment policies.