New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) Britain’s post-Brexit proposed new skills-based immigration system that will remove the cap on skilled worker visas will benefit Indians, a team of British government officials emphasised during discussions with officials of the Indian government on Wednesday.
The discussions signalled a new phase of cooperation and acted as a forum to discuss opportunities to strengthen the bilateral relationship, according to a statement issued by the British High Commission here.
“The migration dialogue allowed UK government officials to engage directly with their Indian counterparts on UK’s plans for a new single, skills-based immigration system system after Brexit,” the statement said.
“In addition, the UK government held round table events with key figures from the corporate, business and education sectors in India to gather insight and highlight how the new system will benefit them,” it added.
In the talks with the Indian officials, the British team emphasised that the new skills-based immigration system offers a significant opportunity to Indian nationals, particularly skilled workers and students.
It was also pointed out that the current British visa system already provides a good service for India, with almost one in five of all British visas granted to Indian nationals.
The British officials said that their government continues to work towards a more modern and efficient returns arrangements with India, which will support an enhanced migration partnership more broadly.
“The UK government wants to encourage skilled workers to come to live and work in the UK and has proposed to abolish the cap on its new skilled visa route when the new system comes into effect in 2021,” the High Commission statement said.
“These proposals mean that there would be no limit on the number of skilled people, such as engineers, doctors and IT professionals , who can come to live and work in the UK,” it stated, adding that this will allow people from across the world to come to the UK for work or to study and to visit.
In comments following Wednesday’s talks, British Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said her country already issues more skilled worker visas to Indian nationals than to the rest of the world combined.
“Under the new system, operating from 2021, we will always be open to the brightest and best from India, who wish to come to live and work in the UK,” Nokes said,
Stating that the migration partnership between Britain and India is a priority for his country, British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith said that India is the first country, outside of the European Union, that London is consulting on its new migration policy.
“These talks are central to developing closer bilateral cooperation, with policies promoting skilled work and international students playing a major role in new UK proposals,” Asquith said.
“We’ll also be continuing our discussions on handling Indian nationals who are in the UK illegally.”
The British government had released a white paper on the proposed new immigration policy just ahead of Christmas last year.
Key announcements include removing the cap on numbers for skilled workers; removing the Rsident Labour Market Test for highly skilled workers; allowing students – whether undergraduate or postgraduate – to stay in Britain for an extended period of six months after graduation; and making it easier to switch on to a skilled visa work visa at the end of their course.