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Prepare for an influx of financial technology migrants from the US

Thanks to tighter restrictions on the issuance of H-1B temporary visas at banks receiving TARP money in the US, the UK could see an inflow of experienced financial technology specialists in search of jobs.

US firms have historically been able to issue H-1B visas to skilled migrant workers providing they can prove they’ve given a US candidate a “fair chance for consideration for the job.” This year, up to 65,000 such visas will be issued to people in specified professions, including IT roles on Wall Street.

However, a provision passed by the House of Representatives last week is expected to reduce Wall Street’s ability to hire H1-B holders. TARP recipients can still hire people on the temporary visas, but the process is about to become a lot more onerous.

Kim Berry, president of the Programmers Guild – a society for US technology workers – is unconvinced that the changes will make much difference in the short term.

“Many of these firms are laying off rather than hiring,” he says. “The TARP provisions do not require that the temporary H-1B workers be laid off prior to similarly skilled US workers.”

However, Shawn Banerji, executive director within the financial technology division of headhunters Russell Reynolds Associates, believes a lot of foreign IT workers are already looking towards Europe.

“This is more because of the general slowdown though,” he says. “We’re also seeing H-1B workers who have been here for two or three years trying to get on to the green card programme to avoid having to leave.”

A large number of foreign IT workers are currently looking for opportunities in the UK, says Simon Walker, director of technology recruiter Project Partners.

“Internationally we see a good level of applications from Asia, specifically India, as well as Eastern Europeans. They are generally taken on for very vocational technical led roles such as developers, rather than project managers or business analysts because of the language barrier.”

Non-EU technology workers can enter the UK on a Tier One Visa.

Comments (27)

  1. Go away!!

  2. this is going to create more civil unrest in the UK. If you thought the ‘wildcat’ strikes were bad just imagine the backlash if we see a mass horde coming over. Gordon Brown’s “British jobs for British workers” is going to be played and replayed in the press.

  3. Thank God Americans will finally have a shot at some jobs in our own country.

  4. @P Henry

    thats quite a protectionist type comment, native Americans as do all natives of their own countries need to get competitive, if they want to grow and prosper, this is after all a global labour market, with fewer and fewer restrictions to movement of labour…….

  5. As a recruiter, I will happily employ Indians, Poles, Chinese, Americans, anyone before indigenous Britons. The former have a great work ethic, happy to go the extra mile, innovative, don’t let personal stuff get in the way of their work, my experience with Britons has consistently been the complete opposite – lazy, wanting to get away with doing the bare minimum, using trade unions and legal jargon against having to work overtime when need be. It is of no surprise that the proportion of foreign workers will continue to grow whilst Britons unemployed also does.

  6. there is a Huge difference between working in US and working in Europe (esp. UK). America is land of liberty and dreams. Seriously don’t expect smart of the Asians moving to UK. don’t expect some thing like silicon valley in UK.

  7. unfortunately it won’t be the americans. it will a hoarde of indians with dubious qualifications and with questionsable experience. UK Authorities should impose a quoto for indian IT techs

  8. “Liberty and dreams”? You mean “McDonalds and guns”

  9. James, you clearly didn’t go to San Jose, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale or San Francisco. You have no real understanding as to what jen is talking about. Nevermind. Ignorance is bliss.

  10. Come on James, there is no comparison between the UK and the USA. The USA encourages the best brains, they have a different attitude. Their objective is to make things work, and they find the competent people to make it work. The British conserve. They don’t warm to new ideas. They believe they are the best. Lets give British jobs to British people. If you want to know the difference, look at the first comment by Bill.
    The best brains will always strive to make their way to the US. Einstein, Von Karman, Timoschenko, the brightest Jews, Germans, Chinese and Indians, you’ll find them in the US. The UK is always a second option, and thats only because German and French are not as widely spoken as English.

  11. “dubious qualifications and with questionable experience”
    Nail on head with regards to H1Bs. Usually barely conscious code monkeys working as indentured slaves onshore for an outsourcing company.

  12. “…… with Britons has consistently been the complete opposite – lazy, wanting to get away with doing the bare minimum, using trade unions and legal jargon against having to work overtime when need be.”

    we have a trade union? hell we should strike over this no bonus malarkey. come brothers, let’s down tools

  13. “Nail on head with regards to H1Bs. Usually barely conscious code monkeys working as indentured slaves onshore for an outsourcing company.”

    a simple search or the following link should answer a lot.
    you cant compete, so slander them, works fine.

    “code monkeys” ? believe me, you dont know whats coming at you.

    regarding “mcd’s and guns”.
    look at USA’s contribution to your british life – start with internet. guess what – the same guns saved ur asses in wwII. omni powerful great britain wasnt strong enough.

    worked with people all around the world, europe, america .. in both finance and engineering. know what to respect.

  14. Jen, without wanting to get into a debate about whether the US or the UK is better (they both have their good and bad points and obviously it’s a question of personal preference), I’d just like to say that an English computer scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, is largely credited with inventing the worldwide web, which is basically the internet as perceived today. So, let’s not try and make out the UK is some sort of provincial backwater, while the US is a dynamic super-power. It’s insulting.

  15. jen, I wouldn’t get too patronising towards others if I were you. Or naively believe USA is the land of milk and honey. American enterprise has its’ fair share of exploitation. The Silicon Valley that you talk about and “look at USA’s contribution to your british life – start with internet….” is riddled with exploitation and injustice. During the dot-com boom to the present day Indian and Chinese IT engineers have gone to Silicon Valley on a H1-B visa and they are paid less, yes LESS than the prevailing wage for an American IT engineer. Why do they accept this lower wage? Because there is an implicit promise by the company that they will be sponsored for permanent immigration. But what happens in reality is that after 5 years the H1-B visa runs out and the company DOESN’T sponsor the foreign IT workers for permanent residency. They have to go back to India or China or go elsewhere. Why doesn’t the company sponsor for full immigration? Because they can get fresh Indian / Chinese IT graduates to do the same work again at a lower rate than Americans. That’s part of the reason why Intel, Microsoft, Oracle make so much PROFIT.

  16. …TCS…iFlex…XYZ Consulting Services…where will the UK gov’t draw a line? really….enough is enough. It may work for the companies making the profit, but the bank’s core technical staff are being asked to settle for less quality in the applications they end up integrating and supporting.

    Import Restriction Reply
  17. Guys all i am trying is to nail this idea that don’t dream about smart immigrants queuing up before UK. there will always be immigration, but UK is not US for a lot of people.

    ‘Tim Berners-Lee”
    internet != hypertext, internet born out of US tax $.

    “UK is some sort of provincial backwater”
    definitely UK != US. rest is all left for personal prejudice, patriotic fervor and knowledge.

    “h1b wages” – chase.
    there are stories about lower wages and GC woes, then there are success stories, sour grapes, and some british concerned about exploitation of indians and chinese in bay area.

    btw, by mistake i took an international flight via london, cause of my complicated visa, i need to shell $100 for some stupid british visa just to change flights in heathrow. thats the attitude of british towards 3rd world natives.


    “but the bank’s core technical staff are being asked to settle for less quality in the applications they end up” -Import Restriction.
    If this is how the core tech staff end ups. they sure dont know how to delegate/manage/blow-whistle and need to laid off. But this one mostly reeks off xenophobia, fear, incompetence, belittlement of 3rd world native

  18. ponterotto – I’m with you, comrade. I reckon it’s time we got GUARANTEED bonuses for as long as we are with the company…otherwise STRIKE! STRIKE!

  19. Oh my dear Jen,

    You really sound like someone who has fought a bitter fight all your life. You have so many issues and such a massive chip on your shoulder. I feel so sorry for you. Trust me, I have no axe to grind, I have just seen America for what it is. The brits really could not get away with paying highly skilled immigrants less than other, similar british people because:

    1. It’s against British & EU law and immigrants CAN legally complain to British / EU Courts for redress.

    2. Blantant exploitation like I described earlier goes against the British culture. Our sense of social justice is far greater than that of the USA. I have been fortunate enough to know both cultures quite well, so i know what i’m talking about.

    FYI, as a Brit travelling to Central America and having to change flights in New York, I too had to get a transit visa. I am not attacking the US, it has given many smart, hardworking immigrants a fantastic and wealthy life. But these days that “opportunity” is no more than what is offered in Britain. Jen, what u have to remember is Americans are very good at MARKETING. Marketing the dream around the world of liberty, wealth etc. Reality is different.

  20. I agree with Chase. US employment culture exploits foreigners or “aliens” as they like to call them. Jen, there is a reason why slavery wasn’t abolished in America straight after 1776……….

  21. Jen, you really drunk the Kool-Aid, huh? You sound so brainwashed by American myths and mass media. People don’t “queue up” to come to Britain as you put it because the british are not into shameless self promotion as the Americans are. To dispel some myths, the pay for IT developers in an investment bank in London is EXACTLY the same, if not not more, as the pay for IT developers in an investment bank in New York. Like any private organisation the banks in London will pay for the best talent no matter where they come from. Just look on efinancialcareers and compare. Also being an entrpreneur and setting up a business / getting funding is as easy as in USA. Overall, the quality of life in Britain is better than that of USA. US society is too money oriented in all aspects of life and the disparity between the rich and the poor is huge. There are big parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana that look like a 3rd world country.

  22. Not every smart immigrant arriving in America is going to be a multi-millionaire. Or even a millionaire. Or even wealthy.

  23. Jen,

    Looks like your arguments have been outmatched by others.

  24. Despite the valiant attempt, Jen was always going to lose the argument, after all, look at the top left hand corner of the screen. I see the Union Jack. But the fact remains, the US is the more prosperous and is in possession of the most talented professionals you’ll come across. Its fact, it can’t be denied.

  25. If USA and UK/EU doesn’t retain the foreign talent from Japan, China, India and others then they will loose potential tax revenue as well as these jobs will be outsourced to far east and south asian nations.

    Loss to USA / UK / Europe:
    1. Jobs outsourced
    2. Decrease in 25% – 40% Tax revenue
    3. one immigrant / foreign worker creates minimum 3-4 jobs in services sector as he has to pay rent, he can’t own the apartment. Bring tourism revenue as he/she will bring his/her family and relatives / friends….etc

  26. To speak abt Jen within the remits that the US is doing a lot better than the UK would be credible and to evaluate what other patriotic champions have said to defuse that is noteworthy.

    Whatever the Bill, Marketing, or political tactics that have been deployed by leaders in these two jurisdictions over time, irrespective, would account for very little in how and what we are do to shape our present lives.

    It is pathetic to witness how Gordon Brown had characterized the UK in a very bad way. One who will sponsor foreign workers to shore the shortage skills in the economy but would only turn around to stab them in the back with the rant “British jobs for British workers”. The same person that would later urge the US congress, in his first invitation to the white house, to shun protectionism on the back of the campaign “buy American only”. Brown is not the best minds that Britain had ever produced but his attempt to export financial services and English to the world would give credibility to whoever touts the weakness of the UK over the US. For the US has redeemed herself to a large extent on the revolutionary election of Barack Obama – MARKETING? a point we have shied from

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