UK points-based immigration system could benefit Indian applicants

By UK India Business Council (UKIBC)

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the UK’s new points-based immigration system to be introduced in 2021.

Likened to the Australian system, the Home Office say it will prioritise the brightest and best from around the world to support the needs of the UK economy.

The scheme should benefit Indians by effectively eliminating the discrepancy between those applying to work in the UK from within and outside of the EU.

Until now there has been a cap on the number of Tier 2 visas – which India already receives more than half of allsuch visas issued – but under the new system there will be no cap, another potential positive for Indian applicants.

Points will be assigned for certain skills, qualifications, salaries or professions. Overseas workers who want to come to the UK will have to speak English and have the offer of a skilled job with an “approved sponsor”. The widespread use of the English language in India should therefore work in favour of Indians too.

Additionally, the definition of skilled workers will be expanded to include those educated at A-level, not just at graduate level, as was previously the case.

To study in the UK, overseas students will need the offer of a place at an educational institution, speak English, and be able to show they can support themselves. In combination with the reinstatement of the post-study working visa to two years, as announced in September, this should also aid Indian students.

Indian businesses consistently highlight the need for improved access to working visas for Indian nationals – including students – as a key barrier to UK-India trade and investment. Like the post-study visa extension, this new programme sends a message that the UK is open to India’s immense talent.

It will be important to see the details of how this new points-based system will work in practice. But with the focus on attracting highly skilled individuals, it should be good news for ambitious and well-qualified Indians and for businesses in the UK keen to hire top talent.

This announcement today is further boost to India-UK people to people links or, as Mr Modi calls it, the “Living Bridge” between the two countries.

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