November 08, 2010
Documents leaked from the European Commission reveal the true state of negotiations with India for the preferential admission of IT workers to the EU. The UK's quota for some worker categories is 40% of the entire EU commitment – almost three times that of Germany and almost seven times that of France.
The Commission is preparing to offer India 35,000 to 50,000 work permits per year, for the categories of Independent Professionals (IPs) and Contractual Service Suppliers (CSS). This offer is part of the response to Indian demands for labour access, within the negotiations for an EU/India Free Trade Agreement being held in secret.
While this is a figure for the number of visas the EU commits to offering, it does not limit how many a member state actually offers.
An unidentified number of visas for a further category, 'Intracorporate Transferees' (ICTs), that is workers brought in to work for their Indian company in the EU, will be additional to these disproportionate quotas for the UK in the CSS and IP categories.
With the Prime Minister's announcement this week that ICTs will be excluded from the government’s 'immigration cap', numbers for this category will not be subject to a UK limit.
The breakdown between member states has been based on the share of the working population of each member state in the relevant sectors and on the share of member states in the total number work permits granted to Indian migrants in the past by EU members, taken together. The effect of this is that Britain's quota is 40% of the total while the UK population is only 12% of the EU. Britain would be committed to up to 20,000, Germany 7,000, France 3,000 and Italy 2,600.
A footnote to the document reveals that some countries have insisted on a cap to Indian workers - ironically, most of them are new East European members.
The negotiations are now well advanced and a deal may be finalised in next week's negotiating Round.
Said Sir Andrew Green, Chairman Migrationwatch UK: ‘This looks suspiciously like a side door to Britain for 15,000 - 20,000 Indian IT workers every year. It is even more astonishing coming at a time when British IT workers are finding it increasingly difficult to find employment and there is a 17% unemployment rate amongst computer science graduates who left university last year. It is time to end the secrecy and for the government to come clean with what is going on and what, if any, safeguards are being put in place.’