Economy

Modi likely to discuss visa-related issues with UK Prime Minister

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

File Photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.   -  PTI

Visa restrictions on students, proposed curbs on professionals on the agenda

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to take up concerns related to visa restrictions imposed on foreign students and the new curbs being proposed on professionals by the UK Government during his visit to the country beginning on Thursday.

"The number of Indian students going to the UK has gone down recently due to visa restrictions. Now our professionals in sectors such as IT, too, stand to be hit due to the new visa limits and conditions being considered by the UK Government. We expect the PM to take up visa related concerns during his visit," a Commerce Ministry official told BusinessLine.

Modi is scheduled to hold his bilateral with UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday evening.

New immigration rules

The new immigration rules, set to come into force from April 2016, restrict the availability of work visas, such as the 'tier 2' for skilled migrants, to only those who come under 'skill shortages and specialists' category.

It also proposes limiting the time a sector can claim to have a skills shortage, introducing a 'skills levy' on businesses who recruit foreign workers and increasing the visa salary threshold.

"The Indian IT industry, which is the primary user of intra-corporate transfer visas for their Indian employees in UK, has been complaining that its competitiveness would be severely hit once the new visa rules are implemented,” the official said.

The UK is the second largest market for Indian IT exports, after the US, and accounts for an estimated $18 billion annual export revenue for the industry.

Curbs on foreign students

New Delhi also wants the Cameron administration to do away with the curbs imposed on foreign students staying back and working after completion of their studies. Recently, the UK has also imposed restrictions on foreign students working while studying in the country.

“The restrictions have already resulted in many Indian students opting to study in the US or other EU countries such as Germany instead of studying in the UK,” the official said.

Interestingly, Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who did her higher studies in London, said at a UK India Business Council event early this year that she would advice her daughter not to study in Britain because of the increasing restrictions on student visas.

Published on November 12, 2015

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