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Indian students, skilled workers intensify living bridge with UK

Indian students, skilled workers intensify living bridge with UK
Courtesy: Morsa Images | DigitalVision Via Getty Images

The latest UK government figures released last week reveal that Indian nationals continue to be the top nationality granted skilled worker visas, accounting for 46 per cent of all skilled work visas granted globally. In the year ending June 2022, Indians received nearly 103,000 work visas, a 148 per cent increase over the previous.

Besides work visas, latest UK Immigration Statistics also show a trend that was expected – that Indians have overtaken Chinese as the largest nationality being issued sponsored study visas as well. Nearly 118,000 Indian students received a Student Visa in the year ending June 2022 – an 89 per cent increase from the previous year. The UK continues to be a popular destination for Indian holidaymakers too, with Indian nationals accounting for the highest proportion (28 per cent) of Visitor Visas granted at over 258,000 in the year ending June 2022 – a 630 per cent increase compared to the previous year when travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic were still in place.

Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India, said: “India first again. I'm delighted that Indian nationals were issued the largest number of UK study, work and visitor visas in the year ending June 2022.

“More strength to the unique living bridge that connects our people.”

Indian industry also welcomed the UK’s new Scale-up Visa, which is aimed at attracting more skilled professionals from around the world. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said the UK Home Office Scale-up Visa announcement directed at high-growth businesses to access a worldwide talent pool to boost their scale-up ambitions is well timed.


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FICCI Director General Arun Chawla said: “In the last few years, India has seen a large number of rapidly growing businesses from tech and financial services expand into the UK.

“The new Scale-up Visa announcement has come at a good time with businesses trying to recover post-pandemic and are hiring talent that would help them to grow faster. This announcement will give Indian businesses that are present in the UK greater flexibility to hire in-demand talent to progress to the next level.

“It will also help British businesses to tap into the vast talent pool that India has to offer.”

Under the new Scale-up Visa, companies, including small businesses and those in the tech and financial services sectors, that have achieved growth of 20 per cent or more in either employment or turnover year-on-year for at least three years and employed a minimum of 10 people at the start of those three years are eligible to sponsor workers under the new route.

Eligible businesses are expected to attract a lot more scientists, engineers, programmers, software developers, research and development professionals, economists, architects, technicians, financial and investment advisers with the new visa that falls within the country’s wider points-based immigration system.


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Kevin Foster, Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, said: “Through our Scale-up Visa, we’re enabling businesses to focus on their growth and innovation by giving them more freedom to bring in the diverse skills and experience they need, making them more attractive on an international stage.

“By supporting our high-growth tech, financial services and small businesses, we are ensuring the UK remains a global hub for emerging technologies and innovation while enhancing productivity across the economy – creating jobs, growth and prosperity across Britain.”

Unlike other sponsored visas, the UK Home Office said its Scale-up Visa launched last week allows businesses to employ high-skilled individuals who will receive two years’ leave to remain in the UK without requiring further sponsorship or permission beyond the first six months. The new visa route is intended as giving businesses in the UK greater flexibility to hire in-demand talent to progress to the next level and boost the UK’s global talent pool.

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