Indian students and workers, including the low-skilled work force, will benefit from the new immigration system to be implemented by the UK after it exits the European Union, British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith has said.
“The changes being planned in the immigration system will be better for students who will have a longer time after finishing their studies to look for a job in the UK. It will also be better for workers with a lower skill threshold. And it would result in less bureaucracy for those employees who employ non-EU workers,” Asquith said addressing a press conference on Friday.
The UK is finalising the immigration white paper which will shape the future migration system after the country’s exit from the EU this year.
Last year, over 19,500 students from India received study visas, which was a 70 per cent increase over visas issued two years before, the High Commissioner said.
The movement of skilled workers from India to the UK increased at the fastest rate in 2018 and over 55,000 skilled work visas were issued to Indian nationals. The visas for Indian skilled workers were more than all other countries combined, Asquith pointed out.
The High Commissioner called out to cricket fans eager to watch the World Cup in the UK between May and July to hurry with their visa applications. “We are expecting about 75,000 Indian visitors for the World Cup and we want them to know that it takes about 15 working days for visa applications to be processed and they should apply on time,” Asquith said. He pointed out that in 2018, nine out of 10 visa applications were accepted and about 97 per cent were processed within 15 working days.
The number of tourist visas for Indians to the UK went up by 10 per cent in 2018 to 4,85,000.
Responding to questions on how soon India and the UK could begin negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA), the High Commissioner said while the two countries could not discuss tariffs as long as the UK remained part of the EU, talks on issues such as market access and regulatory controls were allowed and were already happening. “Of course, we cannot conclude an FTA with India till we have completed the exit process and it is not yet clear what it would look like. But, my team and ministers have been engaging in good conversations with their counterparts in the Indian Commerce Ministry,” he said.