New UK visa policy may hit Indian IT companies

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 15, 2018

The United Kingdom has tweaked some norms in its visa policy, in a measure that may affect a large number of Indian IT professionals. The changes include a higher salary threshold and the need for partners and parents of immigrants to pass a new English language requirement to extend their stay beyond two-and-a-half years.

The move comes just days ahead of the India visit of UK Prime Minister Theresa May (beginning Sunday).

While Nasscom has expressed dismay at the development, market watchers say the changes are unlikely to have any major impact as Indian IT companies pay their employees much more (£50,000-60,000) than the threshold stipulated under the new visa rule.

Under the revised rules, any person applying for a visa after November 24 under the Tier-2 intra-company transfer (ICT) category has to meet the higher salary threshold of £30,000 compared to the earlier figure of £20,800.

A Tier-2 intra-company transfer visa allows a candidate to transfer to the UK from an overseas branch of a UK company in order to undertake work on a specific project.

Indian IT workers account for nearly 90 per cent of UK visas granted under the ICT route.

The Tier-2 (general) salary threshold for experienced workers has also been raised, to £25,000.

The Tier-2 visa allows skilled workers to enter the UK on a long-term basis to fill a skilled job vacancy, such as in IT, accountancy, teaching, or healthcare.

Nasscom reaction

Responding to the new rules, IT industry body Nasscom said that it was disappointed by the decision of the UK government. “It is important to note that our fast-growing and high-value tech sectors rely upon an effective immigration policy that attracts high-skilled workers and minimises barriers to the flow of talented people between our two countries.”

Nasscom said it would raise the issue during May’s visit to press for a fresh approach to skilled IT migration as part of a possibly new India-UK trade agreement.

Published on November 04, 2016

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