The UK government's changes to its visa policy for non-EU nationals aimed at curbing its increasing immigration figures will come into force from Thursday, 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 Advisory Committee will affect applications made on or after 24 November unless stated otherwise," a UK Home Office statement said.
Changes impacting a number of areas – including salary thresholds for those on a Tier-2 visa (the most common category for non-EU workers), and English language requirements for family members of non-EU migrants, were announced by the government earlier this year on the advice of the Migration Advisory Committee, an independent public body that advises the UK government.
In order to be sponsored, experienced workers will need to earn a salary of at least £25,000 pounds in all professions bar a few (nurses, radiographers, paramedics, and secondary school teachers in Maths, sciences, and Mandarin will be exempt until July 2019).
The salary threshold is set to rise even higher next year to 30,000 pounds by April. The minimum salary for a Tier-2 migrant had been 20,800 pounds.
“This is a very reactionary and unthoughtful move by the government and wont help build the relationship between India and Britain,” said Virendra Sharma, Labour MP for Ealing Southall. He noted that the minimum salary required of foreign workers was rarely one that locally-trained workers would be able to earn. “Indirectly the government is saying that we don’t want you here.”