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Onshore offshoring

Offshoring is a well-known term for moving a business activity to another country in order to take advantage of lower costs or tax breaks — a controversial example is the way that many companies’ telephone call centres have been transferred to the Indian sub-continent. Onshore offshoring is almost a reverse process, in which skilled but comparatively low-paid workers are brought from overseas to work in the business’s country of operations. The term has only recently started to appear, at first in the USA, but it — and the activity — has come to public notice in the UK through the discovery by the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo) that 21,000 foreign IT workers, mostly from India, have been given work permits in the past year alone. This rather clunky term has had to be created because jargoneers have already used up onshoring for a related technique that has also been been given the name homeshoring.

We must expect some businesses to explore the option of onshore offshoring in the UK, regardless of the potential social and economic impact this may have long-term — after all, it is the job of the government, not business, to regulate working opportunities and environments.

Datamonitor CommentWire, 24 Nov. 2005

ATSCo said its findings, based on Home Office figures, are the first evidence that multinationals recruiting workers in low-cost economies and transferring them to high-cost ones — a phenomenon known as “onshore offshoring” in the US — may have become widespread in Britain.

Guardian, 21 Nov. 2005

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 17 Dec. 2005

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

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Last modified: 17 December 2005.