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Last updated: November 5, 2016 at 13:02 pm

UK Alters Visa Rules For Non-European Techies; Can Severely Indian IT Sector

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Indian IT sector is right now under attack from various fronts – first of all automation is threatening to destroy jobs across various platforms and now stringent visa rules are being implemented, which are especially designed to stop migration of workforce.

After US senators introduced bill to stop H-1B and L1 visa hiring, it’s the turn of UK legislatures to restrict inflow of Indian techies into their country. Last year, US had doubled H1-B and L1 visa fees, due to which an estimated Rs 26,000 crore additional expenses were expected by IT industry.

UK Home Office, which deals in migration related issues, have announced new rules which will severely impact work related mobility for foreign IT workers and literally stop their inflow into UK. Considering that 90% of visas approved by UK for foreign IT workers are granted to Indians, these new visa rules will impact IT industry negatively.

Interestingly, these new visa rules were announced days before British Prime Minister Theresa May is scheduled to visit India.

New UK Visa Rules: Anti-Mobility & Anti-Business?

As per the new visa rules announced, any IT employee applying for Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) category visa after November 24th will have to meet higher salary standards in order to enter UK.

ICT is the most common and widely used visa category by IT companies to migrate IT experts from their countries to UK in order to serve UK clients.

Right now, the salary threshold of employees under ICT category is £20,800, which has now been increased to £30,000. This means, that IT companies having presence in UK will need to shell out more money for their employees, if they want them to work in UK.

Indirectly, UK is giving signals that they don’t want non-European employees to work in their country because £30,000 minimum salary is the average salary of a typical IT worker from UK.

In case this threshold is not reduced, then IT firms cannot afford to apply visa for non-European employees.

Nasscom Is Dismayed; Warns That New Visa Rules Can Impact UK Businesses

Nasscom, which represents Indian IT and ITeS companies, has expressed their severe displeasure over the new visa rules by UK Govt. They have warned that such stringent measures can negatively impact UK businesses, and halt their own progress and growth.

In a statement, Nasscom said, “‘A system that restricts the UK’s ability to access talent is also likely to restrict the growth and productivity of the UK economy’..’’

Nasscom has urged both governments of both India and UK to reconsider this decision, and allow smooth work mobility of IT workers. Nasscom has specifically stated that work related visas and migration issues within UK shouldn’t be mixed, and should be handled differently.

They said, ‘’We will continue to urge the UK government to realise that both countries stand to benefit massively from a fresh trade-based approach..’’

We will keep you updated as more details come in..

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