The United Kingdom on Wednesday approved a scheme that will offer 3,000 visas to young Indian professionals to live and work in the country each year.
Under the UK-India Young Professionals Scheme, the Britain will offer 3,000 visas to 18 to 30-year-old degree-educated Indian nationals to live and work for up to two years in the United Kingdom. The reciprocal scheme is slated to come into effect from next year.
The announcement came shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his British counterpart Rishi Sunak on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali on Wednesday.
“I know first-hand the incredible value of the deep cultural and historic ties we have with India,” Sunak said. “I am pleased that even more of India’s brightest young people will now have the opportunity to experience all that life in the UK has to offer – and vice-versa – making our economies and societies richer.”
India is the first visa-national country to benefit from such a scheme, a press release from the British government said.
“Nearly a quarter of all international students in the UK are from India, and Indian investment into the UK supports 95,000 jobs across the UK,” said the British government.
Notably, the decision to offer visas to Indian professional comes a month after British Home Secretary Suella Braverman had said that Indians are the largest group that overstays its visas in the United Kingdom.
“I have concerns about having an open borders migration policy with India because I don’t think that’s what people voted for with Brexit,” Braverman had told The Spectator. “...The largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants,” she said. “We even reached an agreement with the Indian government last year to encourage and facilitate better co-operation in this regard. It has not necessarily worked very well.”
Braverman was referring to the same Migration and Mobility Partnership signed by her predecessor at the Home Office Priti Patel and Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in May last year.
The UK is also in the process of negotiating a trade deal with India, which if agreed will be the first deal of its kind India has made with a European country.
The free trade deal with India is expected to boost Britain’s trade by up to £28 billion (over 27.91 lakh crore) annually by 2035 and increase incomes across the United Kingdom by up to £3 billion (more than Rs 29,901 crore), a statement from Johnson’s office had earlier said.