VISA & Travel information


UK and US visa changes may affect Indian students & professionals

Dr.T.P.Sethumadhavan

 At a time when leadership changes are taking place in UK and United States, these countries started implementing stringent visa regulations which will affect students and skilled workers from India whom forms major portion of immigrants. Recently UK Government approved Migration Advisory Committee recommendations (MACR) to further tighten visa regulations. MACR suggested salary thresholds for Tier 2 Visa holders and English language requirements for non European Union immigrants. In order work in UK under sponsored category, the experienced workers need to earn minimum salary of 25000 British Pound per annum which may be increased to 30000 pounds by April 2017. Previously these norms were applicable to nurses, radiographers and paramedical professionals only. But from 2016 November 24th onwards the salary criteria will be applicable to all categories of workers. UK curtailed student work visa from April 2011 onwards which seriously affected Indian students aspiring for UK education. As a sequel there is a decline of more than 60 percent of Indian students started evading UK for higher education. United States, Canada, Australia and Singapore are emerging as the potential destinations for Indian students. Some of the EU countries like New Zealand, France, Germany and Ireland started implementing liberal post study work visa up to three years. As per the recent UK regulations, the minimum salary for a Tier 2 migrant should be 20800 pounds. This move will certainly affect Indian IT companies since 90 percent of IT professionals are working in UK under skilled worker category. More than 35 lakh Indian skilled graduate students are passing out per year and UK can accommodate thousands of graduates in their appropriate business ventures. English language requirements for sponsored candidates will also affect the families of UK immigrants from India.
ETS issue
Recent judgment of Court of Appeal in London reveals that immigrants from UK may be deported based on review of past, current and future cased. UK deported 4000 immigrants due to English language qualifications from during 2014 of which 70 percent were from India. Educational Testing Services (ETS) of United States have been conducting Test of English for International Communication since 2010 to assess the English proficiency of potential immigrants. But BBC Panorama investigation report revealed that there are evidences of fraud at ETS centre which motivated UK Home affairs office to act for deportation. The recent judgement came in to effect from 25th October 2016 but British home affairs Offices revealed this only on 24th November 2016 and implemented Migration Advisory Committee recommendations. Interestingly during the first week of November 2016, British Prime Minister Theresa May visited New Delhi and participated in the India UK Technological summit and assured to make appropriate visa changes for the benefit of students and skilled workers from developing countries. At a time UK is trying for post Brexit trade relationship with Asian countries, recent visa changes will affect Indian students aspiring for education and career in UK.
Move to reduce H1B visa in United States
Forthcoming leadership changes in United States will affect skilled worker category and students from developing countries. There will be substantial changes in H-1B visas. Professionals from developing countries are working in US under skilled category under H1B visa. Annually United States used to issue 85000 H-1B visa under skilled worker category of which more than 70 percent were from India. Moreover lot of Indian IT companies are functioning in US and Indian professionals used to work in these companies. US President elect Donald Trump suggested for an enquiry in to visa abuses that affect the opportunities of American workers. He suggested that trade, energy, national security, regulation, immigration and ethics reforms are the areas he will focus initially to restore jobs for Americans and to bring back domestic jobs under the principle ‘Putting America First’.
Trans Pacific Agreement
Moreover US president elect suggested for withdrawing US from Trans Pacific partnership (TPP) with 12 Pacific Rim countries except China. United States joined TPP with the initiative of Obama to get the benefit of global trade. Trump suggested that he will negotiate for fair bilateral trade without TPP. Trump is also trying to withdraw green visa from United States. Green visa facilitate Indian Entrepreneurs and industrialists to establish commercial ventures in United States.

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