Economy

Tweaks in visa policy will attract more visitors from India: UK

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on June 18, 2012

uk   -  Business Line

The UK hopes the recent tweaks in its visa policy will accelerate investments and traffic from India.

“Although the UK Government’s objective is to reduce net migration, it is also committed to attracting visitors, students and filling gaps in the labour market,” said Mr Thomas Greig, Regional Director – South Asia, UK Border Agency.

The UK has set an annual limit of 20,700 for the number of skilled migrants coming to Britain. But according to a recent change in the visa rules, intra-company transfers — wherein a company based in India wishes to send a staff member to work in the UK — are exempt from this limit.

This decision was a result of the consultations with business groups and will particularly benefit IT companies, said Mr Greig.

Last year, the UK issued 15,000 intra-company transfers and skilled workers visas in India. The Indo-UK bilateral trade is worth £16 billion. Ashok Leyland, Tata and TVS Logistics are some of the Indian companies with a significant presence in the UK. The goal is to reach £25 billion by 2015.

“The UK is keen to attract more investments from India than the rest of Europe,” said Mr Mike Nithavrianakis, British Deputy High Commissioner, Chennai. Another change is the creation of a new route for graduate entrepreneurs. Students with “innovative” ideas can stay in the UK and develop their business. Restrictive clauses exist on private institutions to check fraud, but there is no change in visa rules for students wishing to study in the UK universities, said Mr Greig. “They are eligible to work part time and even take up a graduate level job.”

Last year, the 12 visa centres in India processed four lakh visas – this includes 57,000 business visas, 2.5 lakh short-term visitor visas and 30,000 student visas.

The visa fee hike came into effect in April. Short-term visits (business and tourist) cost £78 while student visas range from £78 to £140.

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Published on June 18, 2012
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