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Outsource magazine: thought-leadership and outsourcing strategy | September 20, 2017

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Immigration cap – is it really business-friendly?

Immigration cap – is it really business-friendly?
Martyn Hart
  • On December 8, 2010
  • http://www.noa.co.uk/

It’s been another busy week in the halls of power at Westminster, with the government’s decision to slash the number of migrant workers allowed to come to the UK causing a great deal of consternation.  David Cameron recently claimed that the immigration cap would be introduced in a way which would be ‘friendly’ to businesses – but it still seems that for many businesses, there is a fear that they will now not be able to bring in the skilled staff that they need.  So what does this mean for the outsourcing community?

The announcement of the cap comes in the same week that a study was released estimating that outsourcing from the UK could increase by as much as 600 per cent by the year 2020. Assuming we believe these figures, and accepting that many industry experts are forecasting a boom in outsourcing over the coming years, then surely there’s a chance that this announcement will create a large skills gap for British businesses to fill?

Perhaps the government would be better off changing its focus to examine how it can provide some of the three million British people who are unemployed in this country with the skills to add value where it is needed? Indeed, it’s clear that if the government decides not to invest in training for its workforce and as Britain becomes increasingly dependent on skilled workers, there is a real danger that there will be none available in this country to perform their roles – a situation which could be even more damaging to the economy.

There’s never been a time when this country has been more dependent on foreign workers. A number of industries are highly dependent on workers from abroad, while the government’s spending review means that many public sector organisations are looking to those with specialist outsourcing skills as a means of managing their costs and allowing them to concentrate on their core competencies.  But how will all of this be possible if there is a shortage of skilled labour?

It’s clear that the Home Secretary’s plan to allow intra-company transfers (ICTs) for staff paid more than £40,000 per year brings its own problems.  Will organisations really be keen to pay an employee from abroad an inflated salary for coming into the UK do a specialised job?  The quality of staff is vital to the success of any outsourcing relationship.  By not allowing businesses to make the decision as to whether or not they pay for the right skills, or develop quality skills, there is a real danger that business efficiency could suffer.

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