Hyderabad, Aug 21:
The Uk Government is all set to evaluate immigration rules -- particularly for Indian software companies -- as proposed by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
The decision comes against the backdrop of allegations on Indian tech firms by several British trade lobbyists for misusing the 'intra-company-transfer' rules by replacing the Uk workers at wages lower than prescribed levels in the country.
Uk, which is one of the top export markets for India's over $ 40 billion software industry, has last year granted 45,766 work permits to workers coming to the country through intra-company-transfer route. Majority of these intra company transfers are for Indian nationals, who account for 69 per cent of the permits granted through this route. Almost half (48 per cent) of intra-company transfers are for Indian nationals in just one occupation - software professionals.
Top Indian tech firms including the TCS, Infosys, Wipro and Tech Mahindra serve British customers such as BT, British Petroleum and British Airways by sending Indian professionals to the country on short-term project assignments. With more stringent norms, these companies may now have to employ more local Uk workers instead of sending their Indian staff for onsite projects.
Nasscom, the Indian software industry lobby, when contacted, told TNN here on Friday that the recommendations would help in fixing the loopholes in the system. The Nasscom president, Mr Som Mittal, said "The issue of salary, at least 20,000 British Pound a year as minimum wage for an employee going to the Uk is also. This measure has been put in place to check abuse."
With the latest measure, migrants coming to the Uk under intra-company-transfer route cannot have a right to permanent residence. Under the current rules, after five years of working in the Uk on the intra-company transfer route or any other route under tier-II, it is possible to be granted permanent residence.
Meanwhile, Indian IT workers in Uk feel that such recommendations are not required. "Tier-II visas without the right to settlement will lead to exploitation of skilled professionals, who will have to pay taxes but will not be able to settle in the Uk," said Amit Kapadia, Executive Director of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) Forum.
“However, these are only recommendations at this stage and the Uk Government is considering the report before responding formally. Till now, no decision has been taken. So it would be very early to speculate on the Government's response," feel experts.