Tier 2 Code of Practice section J Salaries

Gary Burgess made this Freedom of Information request to UK Border Agency

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From: Gary Burgess

7 November 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,
Please may I see the UKBA documents that describe the process that
is followed to decide the Tier 2 Code of Practice section J
Salaries i.e. for the Information and Cummunication sector.

The Code of Practice states that "Salary Services Ltd" is the
source.

Are the "Code of Practice section J" salaries based on a particular
percentile or some other calculation based on the salary
information for the job titles? If so, which percentile or
calculation is used?
If not, then how are the salaries decided?

Yours faithfully,
Gary Burgess

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From: Freedom Of Information Team \( IND \)
UK Border Agency

9 November 2009

Dear Gary Burgess

Freedom of Information request - Tier 2 Code of Practice section J
Salaries (22766)
Thank you for your recent e-mail concerning the above matter. Your
request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and we will respond shortly.

Kind Regards

UKBA
FOI Team

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From: Goff, Francesca

16 November 2009

Dear Mr Burgess,

Thank you for your query of the 7th November 2009.

To clarify, the guidance was taken from the salary update of summer
2008. We used Salary Services Ltd as a source of salary information,
which we have used for this sector for many years under the work permit
arrangements. Our ITCE Sector Advisory Panel (whose membership includes
e-skills UK, Professional Contractors Group, British Computer Society,
ATSCo, REC and other relevant industry bodies) agreed that this was the
most appropriate source.

The survey is based on up to 120,000 advertised jobs and 14,000 paid
salaries each quarter, and includes analysis comparing the differences.
Further details are available in the full published quarterly reports.
The salaries are taken from the National paid lower quartile of
salaries.

Whilst there will always be fluctuations in salaries, we intend to
update the salary information in the codes of practice on an annual
basis to keep changes to our guidance to a minimum. When we do so, we
consider the salary information from previous quarters carefully to
identify any anomalous figures. If in any period salary levels have
obviously altered the guidance will reflect this.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Kind regards

Francesca Goff
PBS Operational Policy Unit
Economic and Family Migration Programme
Vulcan House - Steel
North East, Yorkshire and the Humber Region
UK Border Agency
PO Box 3468
Sheffield
S3 8WA

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From: Gary Burgess

16 November 2009

Dear Francesca,
thank you for the information.

Is there any reason why the lower quartile is used and not the
median?

Yours sincerely,

Gary Burgess

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From: Goff, Francesca

17 November 2009

Dear Ms Burgess,

The salaries were agreed at a relevant sector panel meeting. After much
discussion, it was felt that the lower quartile figure was the fairest
option.

I hope this information has been helpful.

Kind regards

Francesca Goff
PBS Operational Policy Unit
Economic and Family Migration Programme
Vulcan House - Steel
North East, Yorkshire and the Humber Region
UK Border Agency
PO Box 3468
Sheffield
S3 8WA

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From: Gary Burgess

17 November 2009

Dear Francesca,

thanks again. Do you know at which sector panel meeting this
happened?

I had a look at the ITCE panel minutes available on the UKBA site,
but I can't find which one:
http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/siteco...

It seems to be getting close on the 25th June 2007. Are there
minutes available for the sector panel meeting that made the
decision?

Yours sincerely,

Gary Burgess

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From: Gary Burgess

17 December 2009

Dear UK Border Agency,
I have now checked with two people who were on the ICTE sector
advisory panel and both deny that the lower quartile salary was
ever discussed or agreed as the "going rate".

As an FOI request, can you tell me which person or group made this
decision and when was it made?

Yours faithfully,

Gary Burgess

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From: Freedom Of Information Team \( IND \)
UK Border Agency

21 December 2009

Dear Gary Burgess

Re Freedom of Information request - Tier 2 Code of Practice section J
Salaries (22766)

Thank you for your recent e-mail concerning the above.Your request is
being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
and we will respond shortly.

Regards

UKBA
FOI Team

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From: EFM Correspondence

7 January 2010

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PBS Operational Policy
Temporary Migration

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From: Gary Burgess

7 January 2010

Dear EFM Correspondence,

My query was regarding which person or group made the decision to
use the "lower quartile salary" from the "Computer Weekly quarterly
salary survey" as the "going rate", and not, for instance, the
median salary.

The ICTE sector advisory panel agreed that the "Computer Weekly
quarterly salary survey" was the best source for salary data but
not that the lower quartile salary should be used. At the 25.06.07
meeting, salary ranges were still being discussed and not a single
"going rate". Also most parties seemed to agree that regional
salaries were needed.

As occupational "going rates" in other sections are the lower
quartile from ASHE data, it seems likely that using the lower
quartile salary was decided by a more central person/body.

Who made that decision?

Yours sincerely,

Gary Burgess

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From: EFM Correspondence

12 January 2010

Dear Mr Burgess,

Thank you for your further enquiry.

Discussions at the Sector Advisory Panel meetings were lengthy and it is
not possible to capture the full detail of what was discussed in the
minutes. At the 13/03/07 meeting a salary range of the 25th - 75th
percentiles was discussed. The panel agreed that the lower end of such
a range was the more significant figure, as this is the minimum rate
that could be enforced. A detailed discussion of geographically varied
salaries followed at the 25/06/07 meeting, but without conclusive
agreement for any particular option.

The Occupation Sheet for IT occupations was cleared for use by the ITCE
Sector Advisory Panel following the 25/06/07 meeting. This clearance
was sought outside of the scheduled meetings owing to the urgency of
publishing revised guidance. The panel cleared the use of the 25th
percentile salaries and a single national rate for each job type.

Use of the 25th percentile itself was proposed by the UK Border Agency
and cleared by the panel. We normally use the 25th percentile for
appropriate salary rates under Tier 2, as you have noted. We do not
believe the median is an appropriate minimum rate to set as, by
definition, half the employers in the UK would be non-compliant. We
chose the 25th percentile as an appropriate rate that is both realistic
for employers and helps to prevent undercutting of resident workers.

Kind Regards

PBS Operational Policy
Temporary Migration

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From: Gary Burgess

14 January 2010

Dear PBS Operational Policy,
Thank you for that information.

Just to make sure I understand, can you confirm the following
please? (and please assume we are referring to section j jobs)

The "going rate" is a minimum rate and is less than the salary an
average UK worker in the same "job type" would be paid.

For London based jobs, the "going rate" could be a third lower than
the salary an average London worker in the same "job type" would be
paid. (I can send examples).

To satisfy the resident labour market test (RLMT), a job in London
could be advertised at the "going rate" (for 28 days etc.). If no
one suitable applies for the job then the RLMT has been passed and
the sponsor can proceed with recruiting a non-EEA worker.

(- I would be surprised many suitable candidates apply for jobs at
salaries that are third less than the average for the job type and
region; and I can imagine it would give sponsors the impression
that it was difficult finding UK workers with the right skills.)

This would be entirely within the rules and would not be considered
undercutting resident workers by the UKBA.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Burgess

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From: EFM Correspondence

19 January 2010

Dear Mr Burgess,

The appropriate rate is the minimum rate that a Tier 2 migrant in that
occupation must be paid.

To pass the resident labour market test, the job must be advertised
nationally for a minimum of 28 days. The advertisement must contain a
true indication of the salary package on offer but does not need to
state the specific rate.

Appropriate rates are based on the 25th earnings percentile, where such
data are available.

If anyone believes the appropriate rates are wrong, or a more detailed
breakdown (e.g. geographically) is required to prevent undercutting of
resident workers, they are welcome to send any supporting evidence to us
for consideration. This evidence must be based on a significant
proportion of jobs in that occupation and not simply on a handful of ad
hoc examples.

If you have any further queries please direct them to
[email address]

Kind Regards

PBS Operational Policy
Temporary Migration

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Richard Taylor left an annotation (19 January 2010)

Quote-marks The email address given for further queries was:

SponsorshipPBSenquiries at UKBA.gsi.gov.uk

--

Richard - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

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From: Gary Burgess

8 February 2010

Dear PBS Operational Policy,

I believe your response confirms that it is within the current tier
2 rules for a job to be advertised and paid at a third less than
the average salary a UK worker doing the same job in the same
region would be paid. Under the current rules would this be
considered undercutting?

I also believe that the Office for National Statistics ASHE data
for 2009 should represent a "significant proportion of jobs":
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Pr...

For science and technology professionals, the national 25th
earnings percentile salary is 36% less than the average salary in
the south east, and almost 40% less than the average salary in
London. As you are aware, the majority of tier 2 technology
professionals work in the south east.

I do not believe the "appropriate rates" are set correctly to
prevent undercutting or protect migrant workers from being
underpaid.

If employers want to bring in the "brightest and the best" and
people "with advanced levels of expertise or proprietary knowledge"
to fill roles that it is difficult to find a UK worker for, then it
does not seem unreasonable that the "appropriate rate" should be
set at least the average and that geographic variations in salary
should be accounted for.

Most good employers will already be paying their most talented
workers higher than average salaries.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Burgess

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From: Taylor, Sarah(OPU)

16 February 2010

Dear Mr Burgess

Thank you for your further correspondence.

As we have explained previously, the appropriate rate policy is intended
to prevent undercutting of resident workers. Your views on this policy
have been noted, however you do not appear to be requesting any further
information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Kind Regards

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