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UK Tory party criticises Indian company transfers

A senior spokesman of Britain's main opposition party has criticised government policies that have allowed Indian companies to send employees abroad on intra-company transfers.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2010 20:32 IST

A senior spokesman of Britain's main opposition party has criticised government policies that have allowed Indian companies to send employees abroad on intra-company transfers.



“It seems extraordinary that when British workers can't find jobs we are bringing foreign workers from halfway round the world,” said the Tory Party's Shadow Immigration Minister Damian Green.



His comments came after The Times reported Indians accounted for the vast majority of the nearly 30,000 non-European foreign workers who came to Britain under intra-company transfers last year - up from 15,400 when Labour came to power in Britain.



“This is another sign that [Prime Minister] Gordon Brown's 'British jobs for British workers' was a meaningless soundbite,” Green added.



The Times quoted figures released by the government's Border and Immigration Agency as showing that seven of the top ten companies bringing in IT workers were Indian.



Topping the list is Tata Consultancy Services, which sponsored 4,465 intra-company transfers last year, followed by Infosys Technology with 3,030.



Ann Swain, the chief executive of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies, which represents recruitment companies, told the paper intra-company transfers were being abused to fill lower level roles in which the skills used are largely standardised.



“Intra-company transfers are being done on an almost industrial scale,” she said.



She added: “Foreign companies are supposed to pay workers brought in on intra-company transfers UK market rates but you have to wonder whether there is some economic benefit to transferring Indian workers from a low-wage economy to Britain.”



Tata Consultancy Services, which builds and maintains IT systems for government departments and British-based firms, said that it needed to bring in additional staff to meet an increased demand for its services and expertise.



“Intra-company transfers are temporary, typically only lasting for around 17 months, when the employee will return to their home base.



“Where we can identify the need for a permanent UK-based role then it is our preference to have UK nationals doing that work,” Keith Sharpe, the European marketing director at Tata, said.