Tag Archives: Contracting News

Excitement in London | A Prince is Born

In terms of excitement London has had a good run in recent years with the Royal Wedding of William and Kate in April 2011, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, The Olympics & Para Olympics in 2012,  Andy Murray’s win at Wimbledon a few weeks ago and this week the birth of a boy to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The birth of the third in line to the throne was marked by gun salutes in Green Park and the Tower of London and the ringing of bells at Westminster Abbey.

Apart from these major flurries how is London really doing?

Visiting London

The above events remind people in the rest of the UK and the world that London has historic and cultural places of interest, museums, art galleries and wonderful parks to explore and encourages them to think of visiting. Tourism is a thriving and important part of the economy. While visting Christopher Wren Churches and studying Grinling Gibbons wood carvings there are new places to visit in the City of London such as The Lloyds Building, The Gherkin, The Shard, The Cheese Grater and The Walkie Talkie.

Professionals Working in London

These new buildings have a purpose. There is very little space left at ground level in the City and these tall buildings provide office space for banking, insurace and legal companies. Highly skilled workers from around the world find this an attractive place to work. The job market is flexible and talent is rewarded with rapid career escalation. It is particularly attractive to European high flyers as they can settle and with a short flight can still have close contact with family back home.

The London Gateway

London was once a global centre for maritime trade. It lost that edge because the Thames was not wide enough or deep enough for bigger vessels. Later this year a new deep sea port called The London Gateway will open twenty five miles east of the capital. The port has a 9 million sq ft of buildings attached to house the largest logistics park in Europe. This will streamline the import and export of goods not just to and from London but to and from other parts of the country.

 

Crossrail for Bikes

London is to get a “Crossrail for bikes” as part of a £913m investment plan in cycling. The plan is for more than 15 miles (24km) of cycle ways through the western suburbs, central London, stretching to Barking in the east. It is expected to open in 2016 and will use a Dutch-style segregated cycle track at places such as Victoria Embankment and the Westway flyover.

Crossrail

Crossrail is Europe’s current largest civil engineering project that by 2018 will provide the first phase a new 21km east-west rail link under London. It will provide 42km of new tunnels and link existing Network Rail services from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east  It will connect the City, Canary Wharf, the West End and Heathrow Airport to commuter areas east and west of the capital. It will bring 1.5 million more people within a 45 minute commute of the West End, The City and Canary Wharf. Journeys from Paddington to the City will take 9 minutes, to Canary Wharf 16 minutes and from Heathrow to Canary Wharf it will take 39 minutes. The trains will be 200 metres long and be able to carry 1,500 people which is nearly  twice as many as the current London Underground tube trains.

In addition Crossrail has developed an art strategy, and is engaging eight world renowned London art galleries to create a permanent line-wide exhibition across the eight central stations.

Crossrail 2

At the end of June this year the Treasury announced £100bn of spending on UK infrastructure projects. £2 million of this is ear marked for a feasibility study into Crossrail 2,  a proposed north-south rail line across London.

The Thames Estuary Airport

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, is well known across the world because of the success of the Olympics and Para Olympics. Recently he backed a proposal for a new airport in the inner Thames Estuary which could open in 2029. He attacked ministers for “sitting around like puddings” and doing “nothing” as rival cities abroad build vast airports in an attempt to win a greater slice of global trade. Will it happen? We will have to wait and see.

Conclusion

All this new infrastructure and enterprise will mean that London continues to be an exciting and thriving place and will provide interesting career opportunities for the talented and determined from all corners of the globe. By the time  HRH Prince George of Cambridge becomes a young man  transport to, from and within London will have been transformed.

If you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering, Actuary or Finance Commonwealth Contractors may well be able to help.

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IBM Smarter Cities

” On a smarter planet, we want to change the paradigm from react to anticipate” is the slogan of the IBM Smarter Planet global initiative which was started five years ago. IBM Smarter Cities is part of the smarter planet programme. The video Smarter Planet – a UK Introduction gives an idea of how it may impact on our lives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A127XSYwzqY
With the arrival of Big Data, through the use of analytics, mobile technology, social business and the cloud it is now becoming possible to transform how enterprises and institutions operate. The embedding of sensors in cars, roads, cameras, roads, pipelines, appliances is happening and systems are beginning to ‘speak’ to each other which results in the capture of masses of data in backend systems. This data can be mined and analysed and if the queries are structured intelligently should produce information on better ways of doing or organising things.

The IBM Research – Ireland lab is IBM Smarter Cities Technology Centre and conducts research in water, energy, transportation, city fabric, risk, exascale computing, and marine environments in collaboration with top universities, cities, and industry partners. The leading academic institutions involved are Cambridge University, the Australian National University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Trinity College Dublin.

Researchers at NUI Maynooth have received €2.3m of funding for a major five-year project which will analyse how software and technology can influence life in a city. The focus will be on two cities: Dublin and Boston in the US. Boston is ranked number one on a global index of ‘smart’ cities while Dublin is a key technology hub in Europe. The research is  funded by a five-year ERC (European Reaserch Council) grant.

Some Findings on Dublin as a Smart City

  • A 2007 study of traffic congestion revealed that even though small if taken as a percentage of gross domestic product then Dublin was the world leader in this sphere over cities such as Manila, Dakar and Mexico City. The challenge was and still is to maintain the historic fabric of the city and  improve the transport network without any major re-development. Dublin City Council has been collecting and analysing data, in partnership with IBM and journey time information is now released and updated every minute.Residents can go online and find the quickest route to their destination. This is just the beginning and eventually people will be updated on problems via their mobiles while on route to their destinations and advice on alternative means of completing their journeys will be given which may be bicycle, tram, taxi or even on foot.
  • IBM’s vision for water is stated as

    Our vision is an intelligent, integrated, and instrumented water system for our cities of the future, where both the quantity and quality of our water resources is constantly being monitored, predicted, and optimized, from rain to drain and back again.

    The citizens of Dublin could vouch for the fact that even when there is a strong bond between rain and drain, over a prolonged period of time, that they still have water shortages. A Dublin City report states that 29 percent of the water produced never reaches the consumer due to water leaking from the city’s distribution system. This is due to the age of the network and many of the pipes are in such poor condition that they are prone to bursts, leaks and low water pressure. Replacing the infrastructure is a costly, time-consuming and disruptive especially when streets need to be dug up.

    To reduce the amount of water lost Dublin City Council in collaboration with IBM is combining analytics, sensor data, and optimization models to find the best places in the network to install pressure reducing valves. Once installed, the models recommend the best settings to minimize leakage while meeting the requirements of the city. Dublin’s Chapelizod area showed potential to reduce leakage up to 44 percent, allowing water providers to serve 15 percent more households without investment in more production capacity or adversely affecting consumers.

‘Garbage in garbage out’ still holds true so human intelligence is a requirement for digital smartness. There are and will be no shortage of jobs for big data scientists, big data analysts and others but there will be a shortage of suitably qualified people to fill the posts.

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Gap between Public & Private Sector Pay Widening

A Director of Policy Exchange, Neil O’Brian, said that \”Public sector pay has got hugely out of control. There is pressure on budgets like never before because of the deficit. If the unions want to preserve their members\’ jobs they have to realise that pay is an issue which will have to be looked at.\”

The editor of IDS Pay Report, Ken Mulkearn, went on to say that \”While our headline figures show pay settlements remain stable, the whole-economy median obscures a wider reality and clear differences between the public and private sectors. The latest figures show that private sector pay awards are where we thought they would be this time of the year, reflecting a degree of recovery in profitability and higher levels of inflation. However, the picture for 2011 is not yet complete and the outlook is difficult to assess.\”

However, although pay may be higher in the public sector the amount of opportunities are certainly far lower, especially once the Government’s budget cuts come fully into force in the near future. At the moment the private sector appears to be driving ahead and creating far more permanent jobs in particular. Roger Tweedy, the Research Director at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, recently said that “Employers are feeling more confident and are taking a long-term strategic view of their workforce planning. Creating more permanent jobs and the lifting of headcount freezes are solid indicators of this returning confidence.  This is encouraging news at what remains a difficult and volatile time for the UK jobs market. The survey also confirms the emergence of a two-tier jobs market, with 60% of public-sector employers predicting a significant impact on their workforces as cuts begin to bite.  The unexpected surge in business confidence gives hope that private-sector employers can absorb further public-sector job losses.”

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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British Workers under represented in Europe due to foreign language skills

The Head of the European Parliament Information Office in the United Kingdom, Michael Shackleton, said that “People like me are coming to retirement and it’s very clear there are not enough people to take our places. I think it matters at all levels of the institutions not just at the highest levels. Having people from British backgrounds adds to the mix – it\’s really important if you want to influence what is going on. The balance of the use of language has been in favour of English, but to understand what people are thinking about you also have to get a sense of them and how they see the world.”

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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First IR35 Forum meeting reports progress

Key Points from the meeting minutes:

  • Draft guidance should be written to reassure those who are clearly \’outside the ambit\’ of IR35, that they need not worry about IR35 compliance.
  • The move to specialist IR35 teams should improve the likelihood of inconsistency when selecting compliance targets.
  • The Forum will consider creating a \’Gateway Test\’ to help individuals determine their position under IR35, however there are numerous difficulties in creating one uniform test to suit all parties.
  • HMRC addressed concerns over whether use of the currently IR35 helpline would in itself make an individual a target for a formal review. HMRC say that cases were only taken on the basis of risk assessment alone
  • Rather than making random checks as is commonly perceived, HMRC uses risk assessment to decide with IR35 cases to review. Although unwilling to disclose their risk criteria, HMRC agreed that there was a need to be more transparent about the process of identifying potential IR35 targets.
  • Attendees expressed their concern over \”customer segmentation\”, e.g. that the current approach does not recognise the difference between \’professional contractors\’ and \’temporary workers\’ in the labour market. HMRC agreed to look at how the current segmentation model could be expanded.

Kate Cottrell of Bauer & Cottrell said that \”As the minutes show we covered a lot of ground at the inaugural meeting and there is still a lot more work to do. I felt the general mood for making improvements to the way IR35 is administered was very positive and the Forum presents a real opportunity to get some clear guidance for everyone.  For the first time since IR35 began we have a central point for contact with HMRC, who have the appetite and the power to ensure consistent treatment and processes for dealing with IR35 across the country. Providing we can iron out the detail for customer segmentation, those potentially affected by IR35 will be able to establish their level of risk of IR35 investigation.”

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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CWJobs.co.uk survey reveals IT professionals support apprenticeships

Key points from the survey:

  • 84% of respondents believe that apprenticeships are a good alternative to further education
  • 83% of respondents believe that not enough businesses offer apprenticeships in Information Technology
  • The majority believe that the Government should offer support to encourage apprenticeships
  • 55% of graduates will either be unemployed or will work in a non graduate job for six months after completing their studies
  • 80% believe that apprenticeships benefit businesses significantly
  • 47% of IT professionals say that their company currently offers apprenticeship schemes

The Website Director for CWJobs.co.uk, Richard Nott, said that “Further education isn’t for everyone. Rising tuition fees and challenging graduate employment conditions have paved the way for alternative routes. IT professionals evidently recognise the importance of apprenticeship schemes. For young jobseekers they’re an excellent way of gaining qualifications and valuable workplace experience while still earning. Businesses benefit too through harnessing fresh talent, filling core skills gaps and critically, improving their bottom line.”

Many believe that professional IT apprenticeships will be a great way to starve off predicted future IT skill shortages. Recently a Director of Hays, one of the largest recruitment agencies in the United Kingdom, said that ‘talent shortages will become one of the biggest challenges facing organisations over the next two decades’. At the moment certain IT skills are becoming harder and harder to find in the UK due to the fact that the Government recently tightened up the UK Immigration system and scrapped the highly popular Tier 1 General route for highly skilled migrants (formerly the HSMP) therefore apprenticeships are viewed as a great way to alleviate the problem.

Director of Hays, Charles Logan, said that “Talent shortages will become one of the biggest challenges facing organisations over the next two decades. So while organisations can attract and recruit from a much wider geography than ever before, which has obvious advantages when skills are in short supply, the global talent pipeline will also create serious new challenges for HR to navigate. Hiring managers will need to understand the flow of their talent pipeline, knowing why people move and what drives this movement of talent around the globe.”

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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Institute of Recruiters (IOR) launched on the 1st June

The Director of Member Services at the IOR, Dave Barber, said that “We have been thrilled with the volume of activity that has taken place in the IOR’s LinkedIn Group in the lead-up to the launch, which has shown there’s a real need for a body like the IOR within the sector. The organisation will be a hub of best practice, where members can share knowledge, collaborate and connect with peers from across the world. We are excited to start welcoming members into the organisation.”

The Director of ICT and Operations at the IOR, Azmat Mohammed, went on to say that “One important aim for the IOR is to provide a platform to further professionalise the recruitment and HR industries, creating international standards in vocational education for the sector. We look forward to working with our partners and our members to continue on this journey.”

Mohammad also went on to say that the IOR plans to lobby in Brussels on behalf of the recruitment industry in the near future, however at the moment plans were the ‘lowest item on the agenda’. He told the Recruiter that “As an international organisation, we will have a network of people that will get involved in the committees in Brussels. AWR (Agency Workers Regulations) hasn’t come out of the UK. It is better to be involved at the ground level rather than trying to change what already exists. Primarily, we will work to support members within the current framework of legislation.”

Membership of the Institute of Recruiters (IOR) starts at a free affiliate level and increases to £49 as a fellow and £249 for a corporate membership.

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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REC praises final Agency Worker guidance document

Mrs Econopouly said in a statement on the REC website that “Whilst we did not get all the improvements we had hoped for, several issues have been clarified within the guidance and we are pleased that BIS has taken into account some of the critical questions raised by REC members. These include further clarification about in-house banks, which explains the impact of the Conduct Regulations; asserting that the 12-week clock is only re-set by breaks of more than six  weeks (rather than six weeks or more); and a clear statement on workers placed in a permanent job being completely out of scope.”

“However the REC cautioned that concerns still remain, in particular about the \’Pay Between Assignments\’ or \’Swedish\’ derogation. The latest guidance indicates that workers on a Pay Between Assignments contract are entitled to equal treatment in relation to working time and annual leave, after the 12 week qualifying period. This means that under such a model, the worker\’s entitlement to leave over and above the statutory minimum is entitlement to the leave only and not to payment for the leave. The clarification on annual leave entitlements under the Pay Between Assignments (Swedish Derogation) model could make those who considered this as a possible option think again about the commercial impact. Whilst in one way this helps make the rules clearer, the requirement for such contracts to be subject to a minimum of one hour per week remains muddy, and could have been much more explicit.”

Recently research from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) suggested that more and more companies in the United Kingdom are beginning to plan for the upcoming Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) which are set to be introduced this October. According to new research conducted by the recruitment industry body ‘awareness levels’ of the new regulations are now at 70%, far higher than they were some 18 months ago. However the REC warned that only 10% of UK employers were planning to make specific changes to their businesses now to combat the changes, with a further 42% weighing up their options.

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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Birmingham City Council planning to offshore up to 100 jobs to India

The dispute concerns roles within Service Birmingham, a joint venture between Capita and BCC, which provides IT & HR services to the local authority. The aim of the Service Birmingham joint venture is to save an estimated £1 billion in modernisation and efficiency savings over 10 years.

Sir Albert Bore, who is opposing the plans said that “Birmingham City Council has a responsibility to protect the potential growth of technology companies within the city. It is not doing so. Offshoring jobs to India undermines the future of Birmingham. At no time have the council said what savings are to be made, but it is obvious that is what they intended by this action. I am calling, once again, for greater transparency from the council leaders.”

However, Liberal Democrat Paul Tilsley, who is the councils deputy leader defended the move by saying that “We have a contract with Capita which brings jobs to Birmingham. They were to create 520 new jobs by March this year, they created 528 and under this contract are expected to increase this by a further 200 by April 2013. The current offshoring proposal involves 17 vacant jobs and a possible 38 jobs which are either vacant or filled by temps. We are conscious of the employment situation in Birmingham, and are doing everything we can to ensure Capita delivers the jobs promised in its contract.”

Peter Allenson, of the trade union Unite, also said that “It beggars belief that council workers will be forced to train workers from overseas to do their jobs so Capita and Birmingham council can lift and shift them abroad. This is an outrageous decision and Unite is demanding that Birmingham City Council halts its plans. We fear this could be just the tip of the iceberg and other councils could follow suit. Thousands of public-sector jobs could go, and once these jobs go they will not come back.”

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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Randstad says organisations need to embrace AWR changes

Mr Naylor told the Recruiter that “With 70% of employers still stating that they are experiencing a skills shortage, employers will need to be aware that candidates are also far more likely to be attracted to organisations that embrace the spirit of these regulations.”

Commonwealth Contractors

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

For more Information call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you. Please see other areas of the Commonwealth Contractors site for interesting articles on tax, immigration and contracting.

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