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Despite curbs, UK cos lap up Indian techies

Last updated on: August 12, 2010 16:08 IST

Despite curbs, UK cos lap up Indian techies

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Prasun Sonwalkar in London

Amidst efforts by the David Cameron government to reduce immigration from non-European Union countries, new official figures have astounded many by disclosing that between April and June this year, 37,000 Indians came to Britain for work.

The figures by the Office of National Statistics put a question mark on efforts by Immigration Minister, Damian Green, to place an annual camp on non-EU workers who could come to the UK for employment.

Between April and June, 186,000 people started work in Britain, of which 145,000 were foreigners and 41,000 were British.

More than half of the foreign workers - 77,000 - came from within the EU, who have the right to work in Britain.

Of those who came from outside the EU more than half - 37,000 - came from India, indicating that Indian professionals have skills that are much in demand in Britain.

The figure includes many IT professionals.

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Image: The British Parliament and Big Ben in London.

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The figures have generated concern at a time of recession, job cuts and unemployment faced by British workers, and have been described as 'astounding' by MPs.

Keith Vaz, the Indian-origin Labour chairman of the Commons' Home Affairs committee, said his committee would investigate the sharp rise.

He said he was "amazed and surprised" by the figures, adding: "What it shows is that the government's intention is not going to work.

"They might want more British workers to get jobs but membership of the European Union mean that non-Brits will get those jobs. The problem is that the immigration cap does not deal with EU migration. The committee will examine the numbers of EU immigrants and its impact on the total figures within the cap."

James Clappison, a senior Conservative MP, said: "These figures are astounding. It is very worrying that employers are not looking at the British workforce to meet their needs. It is very important if not urgent for the Coalition to place tough limits on migration from outside the EU."

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Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, said: "This Government believes that Britain can benefit from migration but not uncontrolled migration. It is our aim to reduce the level of net migration back down to the levels of the 1990s - tens of thousands each year, not hundreds of thousands.

Introducing a limit on migrants from outside Europe coming here to work is just one of the ways we intend to achieve this."

David Green, a director of the thinktank Civitas, added: "The figures show that unless we control immigration it has the potential to undermine efforts to reform welfare by encouraging claimants to return to work. The taxpayer will be left with a large bill for benefits."


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