UK’s tough new visa norms, which will affect thousands of Indian workers

The United Kingdom’s new restrictive visa norms will take effect on April 6, affecting the applications of scores of Indians and other workers from nations from outside the European Union. The curbs include a £1,000 (approximately Rs 69,470) annual “Immigration Skills Charge” for companies hiring employees from outside the European Union.

“The charge is designed to cut down on the number of businesses taking on migrant workers and incentivise training British staff to fill those jobs,” PTI quoted the UK Home office as saying. PhD-level jobs and international students switching from student visas to working visas will be exempted from the restrictions.

Applicants and their spouses will have to submit a criminal record check certificate from any countries they have lived in for more than 12 months during the past 10 years. Applicants will be exempted from this rule if they prove that it is not “practically reasonable” to obtain the certificate.

In November, the United Kingdom had announced several changes to the visa application process. The criteria included the raising of salary tiers for different categories and new English language requirements.

During her visit to India in November, UK Prime Minister Theresa May had said Britain would expedite approvals for Indian entrepreneurs under a Registered Traveller Scheme. She later said the UK “will continue to welcome the brightest and best students from India”.

The announcement had said that under the new rules, anybody applying for a Tier 2 intra-company transfer after November 24 will be required to meet a minimum salary threshold of £30,000 (approximately Rs 24.95 lakh) per year, up from the current figure of £20,800 (approximately Rs 17.29 lakh).