Thousands more Indian migrants are heading to the UK as the result of a little-publicised change in immigration rules.
This year Indian nationals were included in the youth mobility scheme for the first time, meaning 3000 extra Indian nationals are now eligible to come to the UK to work or study.
The visa route is open to those between the ages of 18 and 30 who meet certain criteria and who applied for a ballot for places on the scheme.
Experts believe the introduction of Indian nationals on the scheme is a ‘backdoor’ concession to the Indian government, which has made no secret of its desire that immigration rules be relaxed for its citizens as a condition of any free trade agreement. Negotiations between trade delegates of the UK and India began in Delhi earlier this month.
Immigration commentator, Yash Dubal, director of A Y & J Solicitors which advises Indian businesses on visa rules said: “There was very little fanfare when this change was made and while it only applies to up to 3,000 individuals, it is significant that it is the first time Indian nationals have been allowed to enter the UK by the Youth Mobility Scheme.
“Given the timing, just as free trade talks begin, it could be seen as a backdoor concession to India.”
Indian nationals applying for Youth Mobility Scheme visas must enter a ballot for the 3000 available places. They must also meet certain criteria including proof of sponsorship from India. They must either be educated to graduate level of have experience working in a skilled job. They must also be able to prove they have £2530 in funds and will be required to pay a £244 application fee plus the Immigration Health Charge of £1,248.
The visa is valid for two years and does not automatically lead to citizenship, although the time spent in the UK on the visa will count towards the total ten-year requirement needed for those applying for indefinite leave to remain.
Other countries included in the ballot scheme are Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Of these India has been given the highest number of allocations.