Thursday 20 December 2018 3:15 AM UTC
London, December 20: A UK government White Paper on its post-Brexit visas and immigration strategy unveiled in Parliament on Wednesday is expected to benefit Indian students and professionals, with a focus on skills rather than country of origin.
The UK’s future skills-based immigration system, tabled in the House of Commons by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid, removes any cap on highly-skilled migrants from anywhere in the world and improves the post-study work offering for international students.
The proposals, set to be phased in from December 2021 after the proposed transition period for Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), claim to level the country’s immigration playing field with the end of free movement for people from within the 28-member economic bloc.
“As we leave the European Union, free movement will end…This will be a system where it is workers’ skills that matter, not which country they come from,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said in her foreword to the strategy.
“We are taking a skills-based approach to ensure we can attract the brightest and best migrants to the UK,” added Javid, who made a reference to his own Pakistani origins as the “son of immigrant parents”.
Under the new proposals, an annual cap of 20,700 on the number of skilled work visas issued will be removed, likely to benefit doctors and IT professionals from India, among others.
There will also be a new 12-month visa route for workers at any skill level for a temporary period to allow businesses to hire the staff they need on a time-bound basis.
“People arriving on this route will not be able to bring family members with them, won’t accrue rights to settle in the UK and will have a 12-month cooling off period once their visa expires,” the UK Home Office said.
The onerous requirement for labour market tests by employers wanting to sponsor an overseas skilled worker is also to be done away with.
The plans were broadly welcomed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which said the White Paper recognises the value offered by skilled workers from countries like India.
“Indian Industry has long called for a fair, transparent and skills-based immigration system, and today’s proposals go some way to achieving these goals,” said Jim Bligh, of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Chair of CII’s UK India Business Forum.
“Tackling the UK’s skills gaps, particularly in digital and technology, must remain a key focus for government and it is welcome that this paper recognises the value that skilled workers from overseas can bring to helping improve the UK’s skills base,” he said.
Under changes proposed to attract international students to the UK, the government said it would “improve the current offer” to those who have completed a degree who want to stay on in the UK to work after they have completed their studies by offering six months’ post-study leave to all Master’s students and Bachelor’s students studying at an institution with degree-awarding powers.
This is aimed at giving them more time to find permanent skilled work and to work temporarily during that period. —PTI
CLICK TO FOLLOW UKMALAYALEE.COM