UK’s new visa rules may affect Indian techies’ plans

In a crackdown to curb its soaring immigration figures, the UK government has announced changes to its visa policy for non-EU nationals, which will affect a large number of Indians, especially IT professionals.
UK’s new visa rules may affect Indian techies’ plans

London

Under the new visa rules announced on Thursday evening by the UK Home Office, 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. 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. The changes come just days before British Prime Minister Theresa May lands in India on Sunday for her three-day visit. 
“The first of two phases of changes to Tier 2, announced by the government in March following a review by the Independent Migration Advisory Committee, will affect applications made on or after November 24 unless stated otherwise,” a statement said. Besides the Tier 2 ICT salary threshold hike, the other changes announced include increasing the Tier 2 (General) salary threshold for experienced workers to 25,000 pounds, with some exemptions; reducing the Tier 2 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 skills transfer sub-category. Nationals outside the EU, including Indians, will also be affected by new English language requirements when applying for settlement as a family member after two- and- a-half years in the UK.
‘Visa hike will hit companies, not workers’
The 10,000-pound increase in the Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) category will not really affect the IT industry in India adversely. It is the company which is footing the cost. What will happen is that the mix of people being sent will change. The company will choose to send a consultant, who is billed at a higher rate, along with a team of few other professionals -- to recover the extra 10,000 pounds spent on visa.  The calibre of people going to UK will be higher. For many large Indian IT firms, 35% of the business comes from Europe. UK accounts for 7-10% only. True, the changes in visa policy is a trade barrier but I don’t think it will have the desired impact.
Ravichandran V, Founder of Alive Consulting and Former Senior Vice President of Hewlett-Packard

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