04 February 2011

IT professionals a boost for British economy, conference hears

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Protectionist attitudes like 'Buying British' or 'British jobs for British people' could harm the UK technology industry, a technology conference heard yesterday.

UK Visa

The UK Visa cap will have a negative impact on IT job creation, a conference has heard.

Speaking at the Intellect Annual Regent Conference, Mike Lynch, CEO of UK software giant Autonomy, said opening up the UK Visa system to highly skilled foreign workers will help create IT jobs in the UK.

"The first thing you ought to do to generate more entry-level jobs in the UK is to put out a sign saying, 'If you are skilled in IT we will welcome you here'. We should have the idea of the ultra-skilled worker."

Mr Lynch said for every ultra-skilled worker that moves to the UK, there will need to be 15 entry level programmers employed to support them – resulting in a boost for employment and the economy.

The government's recent UK Visa cap on skilled foreign workers would limit these knock-on employment benefits for UK workers, Mr Lynch said.

In a separate address, Ian Watmore, the COO of the government's Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG), said it was a not productive for the government to favour UK firms when purchasing IT services and equipment.

"It is not in our interest to go in for insular buying because the British economy is mostly export-driven,” he said.

"We want to see Britain's economy grow on the back of a digital revolution and we find we are more likely to attract indigenous British companies if we make procurement simpler," said Watmore.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  UK Visa applications to the British Embassy.  

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