London: Britain has tightened immigration
rules from January for Indian IT professionals seeking to move
to the UK under inter-company transfers.
From next year, workers in this category will need to
have 12 months experience instead of six months as at present
with their employer before they can be transferred to the UK,
official sources said.
The immigration category will be closed as a route to
permanent settlement in the UK.
This means that IT professionals who come to the UK
under inter-company transfer will not be allowed to settle
here permanently even after the mandatory stay of five years.
Immigration officials also denied reports that the
Tier 2 (Intra company transfer) category of the points-based
system was providing a loophole for Indian IT companies to
bring foreign workers into the UK.
Under an intra-company transfer, an employer can fill
vacancies in its UK operations by bringing across some of its
existing foreign-based staff.
It has been claimed that this enables jobs in the IT
and other sectors to be taken by migrants who are paid less
than resident workers.
The Home Office, however, said that this was not true.
"Workers coming to the UK in the Tier 2 (Intra company
transfer) category must be paid the going rate", it said.
Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:
"Intra-company transfers are an important part of making the
UK an attractive place in which to do business, and therefore
keep industry and the economy moving".
He added: "Workers that come in via this route must
display the appropriate level of earnings and qualifications,
and the numbers are strictly controlled by the points-based
system - meaning only those the UK needs can come here.