Will UK relax immigration rules for Indians in trade talks? – Quartz India

The UK is very keen on a trade deal with India and in return it could offer thousands of work visas to Indians wishing to come to Britain.

As UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan prepares for her visit to Delhi this month, facilitating the immigration of skilled workers is one of the top items on a party’s agenda. , but not all, of the UK government. Interior Minister Priti Patel, herself of Indian origin, is said to be against the plans.

One proposal is a program similar to that agreed with Australia, which would allow young Indians the right to live and work in the UK for up to three years. In addition, the government could reduce visa fees for students and extend their stay in Britain after graduation. Work and tourist visas, which can currently cost up to £ 1,400, could also be made more affordable.

Since voting to leave the EU, the UK has struggled to plug the holes in various industries. In the absence of free bloc talent and a new points-based immigration system that prioritizes workers based on their skills, education level, English proficiency and salary , looking further to India can be a win-win for both nations.

Why the UK wants a deal with India

India, with a GDP of $ 2.6 trillion and the enormous potential of its working-age population, is expected to be the third largest economy in the world by 2050. At the moment, India has no bilateral trade agreement with the United States or the European Union (EU), which offers post-Brexit Britain the opportunity to get in first.

It helps that there is already a large Indian diaspora in the UK, mainly due to the historic colonial ties between Britain and India. According to the 2011 census, there were over 1.4 million people of Indian descent in the UK, and although last year’s census data has yet to be released, it can be assumed that this number will have increased.

Indians are eager to come to UK for work …

For years, Indians have been the largest cohort of non-European immigrants to the UK.

In 2020, Indians obtained more sponsored skilled worker visas than any other group; Typically, recent migrants hold high-paying jobs in the UK. In the IT sector, nearly three out of five visas went to Indians.

Health is another important sector for immigrants. In September 2021, more than 32,000 Indians made up the largest foreign group working in the National Health Services (NHS), just behind the British themselves. Right now the NHS, which again suffers from a staff shortage as the omicron wreaks havoc, would no doubt be welcome.

The UK needs workers in many professions – scientists, veterinarians, caregivers, architects, artists, dancers, graphic designers and more.

The UK is already making more room for Indian talent. A migration and mobility partnership introduced last May allows up to 3,000 Indians between the ages of 18 and 30 to live and work in the UK for two years a year. Both governments can choose to increase or decrease this limit.

… and study

Indian students have also flocked to the UK.

Between 2019 and 2020, 48% more Indians received Level 4 student visas for the UK, while those granted to Chinese nationals – the largest population of international students in the UK – fell by 56 %. Even the pandemic couldn’t completely dampen Indian enthusiasm for UK campuses. In 2021, 9,930 Indians applied to UK universities, up 30% from 7,640 the year before.

As the path to immigration after graduation becomes clearer, Indian students could also provide a ready-made workforce for the UK after graduation.

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