The Theresa May government has recently said it will review cases of hundreds of foreign skilled professionals affected by a rule intended to prevent criminals and terrorists from settling in the United Kingdom. Importantly, UK government has recently has tweaked some norms in its new visa policy, in a measure that may affect a large number of Indian skilled professionals.
Indian professionals are making a last-ditch effort to appeal to the UK government over a new 35,000 pounds salary threshold requirement which came into effect from 6th April, 2018 and is likely to affect thousands of Indian skilled professionals. Thousands of Indian and other nationals from outside the European Union (EU) living and working in Britain on a Tier 2 visa may have to leave the country or be deported if they earn less than 35,000 pounds a year once the terms of the visa expire. Earlier, a Tier-2 visa holder could apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK with an annual income of around 21,000 pounds.
The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), a national voluntary organization of Indian doctors based in the UK has vociferously protested the new visa cap rule. According to Dr. Ramesh Mehta, Founder and President of British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, "Indian migrants have a positive image in the UK and every year large number of doctors applies for the UK visa but due to the new visa rules, hundreds of doctors, mostly Indians, were denied visa despite being recruited by the NHS. It is disappointing not only for the Indians but will also affect the NHS”. Those affected have also joined the 'Stop 35K' campaign group against what they believe are discriminatory changes to the criteria for non-EU nationals applying for "Indefinite Leave to Remain" (ILR) in the UK at the end of a five-year period of living and working in the UK.
According to the latest UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures record Indians as the largest chunk of skilled work visas are granted over 55% to nationals from outside the EU, also indicating that Indians are likely to be the hardest hit by the visa cap. Though, there is no nationality-wise breakdown, it is assumed that several hundreds of Indian engineers, IT professionals, doctors and teachers are among 6,080 skilled workers holding a UK job offer who were denied visas to the UK since December 2017.
The Indian PM Modi had also raised the issue with British counterpart David Cameron during a meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in the US.