An unlimited number of highly-skilled Indian workers will be able to migrate to the UK under new proposals that could come into effect in 2021, with a senior British minister on Wednesday saying that in the new system the country will be open to the "best and brightest" from India. The UK also wants to ink a pact with India similar to the one New Delhi has with France, treating each other's academic degrees as the equivalent for higher studies and jobs, sources said.
The post-Brexit visas and immigration strategy, set out in an immigration White Paper, was tabled in the House of Commons last month by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid. It proposes the removal of a cap on highly-skilled migrants from anywhere in the world and improves the post-study work offering for international students. The UK officials on Wednesday visited New Delhi for the Migration Dialogue with the Indian government about a month after the British government unveiled its post-Brexit visas and immigration strategy that seeks to remove the cap on highly-skilled migrants.
The discussions signalled a new phase of cooperation and acted as a forum to discuss opportunities to strengthen the bilateral relationship, a statement said. "The UK is committed to building relationships across the globe which is why officials visited New Delhi and met the government of India today," UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes was quoted as saying in a British High Commission statement. The UK already issues more skilled worker visas to Indian nationals than to the rest of the world combined, she said.
"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. The proposals for the skills-based immigration system, operating from 2021, will allow people from across the world to come to the UK for work or to study and to visit. These proposals will 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, the statement said.
The Migration Dialogue allowed for the UK government officials to engage directly with their Indian counterparts on the UK's plans for a new single, skill-based immigration system after Brexit, it said. The UK government delegation also 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. At the talks, the UK government emphasised that the new skills-based immigration system offers a significant opportunity to Indian nationals, particularly skilled workers and students.
(With inputs from agencies.)