India rebuts work visa 'abuse' allegations

Sweatshop claims are "ridiculous", says Nasscom
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor on

Sweatshop claims are "ridiculous", says Nasscom

The Indian IT companies have hit back at allegations they are abusing work permit regulations on intra-company transfers to bring cheap staff over to the UK.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Home Office body responsible for visas revealed last week that 33,756 permits were issued to overseas IT workers in the last 12 months - up a third on the previous year.

Most of those - 79 per cent - were granted to Indian IT workers being transferred to work on contracts in the UK, prompting allegations from the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (Atsco) that some of the Indian offshore outsourcing companies are abusing the intra-company transfers visa allowance to import cheap labour from overseas at the expense of UK IT workers.

Ann Swain, CEO of Atsco, told silicon.com: "This is sweatshop stuff. These people are brought over, they are not taught English and then they are sent back all burnt out."

But India's IT trade body Nasscom has hit back and called the allegations "ridiculous".

Ameet Nivsarkar, VP at Nasscom, said intra-company transfers are simply one of the effects of increased trade between the two countries, which has benefited the UK economy and UK Plc.

He told silicon.com: "It is very difficult for trade to succeed if there are any artificial constraints put on it. We are talking about highly skilled professionals here. The idea of it being a sweatshop is ridiculous. It is important there is movement of staff between countries. There is a lack of sufficient talent and skilled professionals in the UK."

He also said any specific case of work permit abuse should be investigated.

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