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UK’s New Visa rules to impact Indian IT Professionals

This comes in an attempt to curb its soaring immigration figures, and interestingly, comes just days before British Prime Minister Theresa May lands in India on Sunday for her three-day visit.

After Brexit, United Kingdom has now announced changes in its visa approval policy for non-European Union citizens. The changes introduced on Friday, November 4 include the raising of salary tiers for different categories and new English language requirements, will reportedly affect Indian workers, especially information technology professionals.

This comes in an attempt to curb its soaring immigration figures, and interestingly, comes just days before British Prime Minister Theresa May lands in India on Sunday for her three-day visit. This would be May’s first bilateral engagement outside the European Union and will see the British government push for negotiations on a post-Brexit free trade agreement with India, according to the daily.

According to the reports, under the new visa rules anyone applying after November 24 under the Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) category would be required to meet a higher salary threshold requirement of 30,000 pounds from the earlier 20,800 pounds. Other changes include increasing the Tier 2 (General) salary threshold for experienced workers to 25,000 pounds, with some exemptions; reducing the Tier 2 (ICT) graduate trainee salary threshold to 23,000 pounds and increasing the number of places to 20 per company per year; and closing the Tier 2 (ICT) skills transfer sub-category. A number of changes have also been announced for the Tier 4 category, which covers maintenance requirements for the Doctorate Extension Scheme.

It is to be noted that the ICT route is largely used by Indian IT companies in Britain and the UK’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) had found earlier this year that Indian IT workers accounted for nearly 90 per cent of visas issued under this route.

However, updated English language requirements will also apply to parents and partners whose current permission to stay in the UK will expire on or after May 1, 2017. Additionally, it will also affect when applying for settlement as a family member after two and a half years in the UK on a five-year route to residency settlement in the UK.

The country had earlier announced its intentions to limit net migration to just “tens of thousands”. “We did not see any substantive evidence of long-standing reciprocal arrangements whereby UK staffs are given the opportunity to gain skills, training and experience from working in India,” it noted.
“Indeed, partners told us that India currently has a competitive advantage in training IT workers and in the time it would take to fully upskill the native population, technology would have moved on,” the report concluded.

“The UK government’s reforms to Tier 2 work visas are intended to ensure that businesses are able to attract the skilled people they need, but also see that they get far better at recruiting and training UK workers first,” James Brokenshire UK Immigration minister in April had said.

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