The UK government’s changes to its visa policy for non-EU nationals aimed at curbing its soaring immigration figures will come into force from today, which will affect a large number of Indians especially IT professionals.
Under the new visa rules announced by the UK Home Office earlier this month, applications made on or after November 24 under the Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) category would be required to meet a higher salary threshold requirement of 30,000 pounds (USD 37,131) from the earlier 20,800 pounds (USD 25,723).
The ICT route is largely used by Indian IT companies in Britain and the UK’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) had found earlier this year that Indian IT workers accounted for nearly 90 per cent of visas issued under this route.
“The first of two phases of changes to Tier 2, announced by the government in March following a review by the Independent Migration The other changes include increasing the Tier 2 (General) salary threshold for experienced workers to 25,000 pounds (USD 30,930), with some exemptions; reducing the Tier 2 (ICT) graduate trainee salary threshold to 23,000 pounds (USD 28,467) and increasing the number of places to 20 per company per year; and closing the Tier 2 (ICT) skills transfer sub- category.
European Union including Indians will also be affected by new English language requirements when applying for settlement as a family member after two and a half years in the UK on a five-year route to residency settlement in the UK.The new rules follow further tightening of the Tier 2 category which came into force in April this year.
The issue of visas had overshadowed British Prime Minister Theresa May’s three-day visit to India earlier this month.“The UK will consider further improvements to our visa offer if, at the same time, we can step-up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain,” May had said in her speech at the UK-India .