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Maintain a flexible labour market without returning to ICT visa abuses of the past, IPSE says

The cap on the number of Tier 2 visas should be closely monitored to ensure the UK retains a flexible labour market without returning to the visa abuses within the IT industry of the past, IPSE – the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed – has said today.

The call comes after the BBC earlier today revealed more than 4,200 people who were offered jobs in the UK – including 1,226 IT specialists – were reportedly denied Tier 2 visas between December and March.

In 2011, the Government tightened visa rules to stamp out the abuse of so-called ‘Intra Company Transfers' (ICTs), where big businesses would bring large numbers of IT workers to the UK.

The practice was criticised at the time for displacing UK IT workers, and many workers who were brought to the UK under the scheme were exploited and paid low wages.

Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at IPSE, commented:

“The UK has a world-leading IT sector and it should therefore be no surprise that it is attractive for IT professionals abroad.

“IPSE strongly supports measures which promote flexibility within the UK labour market.

“While attracting highly skilled personnel is crucial to maintaining this flexibility, the Government needs to strike the right balance between being open to the world and ensuring we don’t repeat mistakes of the past.

“We must be wary not to return to a system which allows the abuses we saw leading up to 2011 where big business used intra-company transfers to unfairly undercut UK-based IT workers.

“We must also ensure that businesses and freelancing opportunities remain in the UK, as there are fears businesses could relocate if they cannot access talent in the UK.


Tier 2 visas are granted to skilled workers from outside the European Union. The annual cap on this type of visa is currently 20,700.

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