|Vol.7, No.6, 8.2.01, p22
Information and communications technology companies are calling for more flexible immigration policies to help Europe deal with the growing shortage of skilled workers in the sector.
A survey for the European high-tech monitoring agency EITO to be published later this month will show a dramatic increase in vacancies in the sector since last year's study - up from 1.2 million to 2.1 million. Pollster firm IDC will also forecast a shortage of 3.8-million unfilled posts by 2003.
Industry lobby EICTA will push for foreign information and communications technology (ICT) workers to be offered simplified visa requirements when telecom and employment ministers meet next week.
The organisation says there are growing signs that Europe's high-tech skills gap is causing it to lag behind the US and Asia.
"What the US has done, which the EU has not, is to actively promote immigration, to get more ICT people into the country," said Oliver Blank, director-general of EICTA.
A paper prepared for ministers by the organisation suggests that Europe should emulate the US, where workers benefit from flexible temporary visas of up to six years and a favourable taxation policy.
The report also urges recruitment drives for university and science courses to target women, who only account for around 20% of the current ICT workforce.
Information and communication technology companies are calling for more flexible immigration policies to help Europe deal with the growing shortage of skilled workers in the sector.
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