Forum criticises UK's decision to increase visa fee | world | Hindustan Times
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Forum criticises UK's decision to increase visa fee

world Updated: Apr 07, 2010 14:14 IST

Britain's decision to hike its visa fee for students from 145 pounds to 199 pounds and to introduce a new dependent relative visa, costing 1680 pounds has come for severe criticism from a Forum championing the cause of highly skilled migrants workers, mostly from India.

In a statement, Amit Kapadia, Executive Director of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme Forum said the changes effected from yesterday were unfair.

"The three-fold increase in the fees for settlement visas of dependent relatives is unjustified and very unfair," he said.

Referring to changes in the Tier 1 category, he said "We believe reducing the initial leave period to two years rather than the present three years that will cause difficulties for highly skilled migrants in seeking suitable employment and to meet the required salaries threshold under tier 1.

Employers also do not tend to invest in training of individuals with short duration of visas and wherein the position concerned is of managerial level the employers may consider a shorter duration of visa to be a disadvantage.

For Tier 2, he said intra-company transfers constitute a major share of applicants. "We are very concerned over the new rules under which right to settlement (permanent residence) will be denied for those coming under intra company transfers. We believe such draconian measures will only lead to further exploitation of migrants in the UK."

Kapadia claimed that the timing of implementation of the changes seemed to be politically motivated, rather than a real need for British economy.

The forum at the same time acknowledged the reintroduction of points for those with Bachelors degree as a welcome change and also that the changes to intra company transfers won't be applied to migrants who are in UK retrospectively, which means those already in the country on intra company transfers (established staff) sub category can continue their journey towards settlement.