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British IT outsourcers back Remain in the EU referendum campaign

Good for exports. Exporting your job

A trade group representing companies that ship UK tech jobs overseas says we should vote to stay in the European Union.

“Outsourcing is a significant growth industry for the UK - currently the UK’s second largest employer - and one where we have every chance of taking a global leadership position. Exiting the EU would quickly diminish our role within the global business services industry,” the National Outsourcing Association said in a canned statement today.

Last year the UK’s migration quango recommended that certain tech jobs be put on a “Strategic Occupation List” – fast-tracking non-EU applicants who want to work in the UK. The categories included computer animation software and chip design and test engineers.

Not surprisingly, bosses of larger IT companies are certainly keener than their staff on the EU. Tech services body TechUK (formerly Intellect), which wants to make tech migration into the UK easier, is also advocating a vote to Remain in the June referendum.

However, not all are convinced. The EU has become less economically important as the UK’s share of trade with the rest of the world has increased, as readers know. The fastest-growing export markets are outside the EU, which has now endured a depression longer than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Some outsourcers think tech business would benefit from stronger non-EU ties: “Forming stronger outsourcing and trade agreements outside of the EU was also a big motivation to leave - 19 per cent see this as the strongest argument for leaving,” the NOA notes.

"Only 6 per cent of UK companies do business with the EU, but 100 per cent of British companies have to comply with EU regulations," Merryn Somerset Webb notes, having last week backed Brexit in order to boost the UK's smaller and medium sized businesses - the ones that create most of our jobs. ®

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