Anti-IR35 campaigners hit out at visa abuse

The Fast Track Visa service allows UK companies to import workers that possess IT skills the government says is in short supply locally.

But, according to the PCG, the list of skills that require foreign workers ‘is inaccurate and so out-of-date as to be irrelevant’ and also claims that no such skill shortage exists.

The PCG said it had handed in over 100 examples of this scheme being abused, to Home Office minister Lord Rooker, claiming jobs are being offered to foreign IT workers, when the posts could be filled by a UK contractor.

This it said was adversely affecting the contracting sector.

Philip Ross, PCG policy advisor, said: ‘Out of the high figure of UK contractors that are currently ‘on the bench’, many are proficient in the skills sets on Work Permit UK critical shortage list.

‘The evidence we have handed to Lord Rooker shows many instances of UK contractors being replaced with cheaper ‘permit’ workers with inferior skills sets to those they are brought in to replace.

In its own case study, the PCG found that UK contractors were waiting forprojects to be advertised. ‘It adds considerable weight to our mounting dossier of evidence that there is no skills shortage in IT workers in the UK,’ the PCG said.

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