India to flag new work visa rules, curbs on farm exports with UK

| Updated on: Dec 06, 2021




UK Business Secretary Greg Clark to meet Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

The UK’s decision to tighten visa norms for intra company transfers (ICT) that has already hit the Indian IT industry and the restrictions imposed on imports of farm products will be among the concerns flagged by Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her meeting with UK Business Secretary Greg Clark on Thursday.

The two sides will also discuss ways to use the Joint Working Group on trade set up during British Prime Minister Theresa May’s India visit last November to intensify trade and investment relationship.

IT sector worries

“We are very concerned about the changes in the visa policy for ICTs brought about by the UK applicable from November last year. It is affecting free movement of short-term workers engaged by our IT companies in the UK. This must be sorted out,” a government official pointed out.

Under the new visa rules announced by the UK Home Office, applications made on or after November 24 under the tier 2 intra-company transfer category would be required to meet a higher salary threshold of £30,000 from the earlier £20,800.

In order to reduce Britain’s so-called reliance on non-EU workers, from this month tier 2 visa applications will include a mandatory £1,000 fee for medium and large businesses per sponsored employee per year of sponsorship (the fee is £364 for smaller businesses).

Farm exports

Sitharaman will also take up various sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) restrictions put in place by the UK, which still follows rules laid down by the EU on the matter, that act as an impediment to farm exports from India.

“From time to time Indian agricultural exports such as mangoes, various vegetables and rice face SPS barriers and temporary bans in the UK. The reasons for the ban or restrictions, in many cases, are not scientifically justified. We want to flag the issue so that once UK is not part of the EU, it could take the necessary steps to make the regulations more flexible,” the official said. India also wants to impress upon the UK the need to use the Joint Working Group on trade as a platform for continuous redressal of problems, the official added.

Talks on the proposed free trade agreement between the two countries would, however, take place officially only after the UK exits the EU.

India’s export to the UK in 2015-16 was $8.8 billion while imports were worth $5.19 billion.

Published on April 05, 2017
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