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New UK visa regulations to affect Indians from November 24

Britain on Thursday announced changes to immigration rules – including higher salary thresholds – that will affect Indian professionals and IT companies, particularly those using the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa.

world Updated: Nov 03, 2016 22:31 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
UK visa curbs
Indian IT workers account for nearly 90% of UK visas granted under the Intra-Company Transfer route.(HT File photo)

Britain on Thursday announced changes to immigration rules – including higher salary thresholds – that will affect Indian professionals and IT companies, particularly those using the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa.

Indian IT workers account for nearly 90% of UK visas granted under the ICT route, reflecting the growing number of professionals and IT companies based in Britain. The changes will also affect Indian professionals in other sectors.

The changes, announced earlier this year, are intended to reduce dependence of British companies on Indian and other non-EU professionals. They come into effect from November 24, the Home Office said.

The main changes relate to the Tier 2 visa category: increasing the General salary threshold for experienced workers to £25,000, with some exemptions; increasing the ICT salary threshold for short term staff to £30,000 and closing the ICT skills transfer sub-category.

The changes based on recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) also include reducing the ICT graduate trainee salary threshold to £23,000 and increasing the number of places to 20 per company per year.

Under new rules, partners and parents of immigrants applying to extend their stay after 2.5 years in Britain will need to pass a new English language requirement.

The MAC had specifically mentioned India in its January report in relation to the IT sector, while making its recommendations for higher salary thresholds and other changes.

“(Immigration) is not serving to increase the incentive to employers to train and upskill the UK workforce. Ready access to a pool of skilled IT professionals in India is an example of this. We did not see any substantive evidence of long-standing reciprocal arrangements whereby UK staff are given the opportunity to gain skills, training and experience from working in India,” it had said.

The MAC noted that “some of the heaviest users of the intra-company transfer route are Indian companies, and the top ten employers using the intra-company transfer route are all largely employing IT workers from India”.

“The evidence indicates that multinational companies with a presence in India have developed a competitive advantage in delivering IT projects in the UK”, the MAC had noted.