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British government makes it tougher for Indians to work in the UK

London, Dec 4, 2023- An estimated 300,000 non-Britons – many of them Indians – will be affected by the British government on Monday raising the bar for people eligible to apply for skilled worker visas for the United Kingdom. The minimum salary that an applicant must now command is 38,700 pounds, up from 26,000 pounds.

“Enough is enough,” said Home Secretary James Cleverly in the House of Commons. The policy is designed, he added, to reduce net migration to the UK. Net migration – the difference between the number of people coming to live in the UK and the people leaving – was 745,000 in 2022 and has become deeply unpopular with Britons across the board.

One of the main arguments for exiting the European Union (EU) was to control immigration – which compulsory free movement of people in the EU could not prevent. This has been defeated by people swamping the UK from other parts of the world, including significantly from India.

Those coming on health and social care visas, mostly nurses, will, however, be exempt from the higher salary threshold. They will not, though, be permitted to bring dependents, namely their partners and children, with them. Cleverly stated this will “end the abuse of the Health and Care Visa”. Nurses in the UK also come from India as well as from other parts of Asia, Africa. and the West Indies.

Cleverly asserted: “Approximately 120,000 dependents accompanied 100,000 care workers and senior care workers in the year ending September 2023. Only 25 per cent of dependents are estimated to be in work, meaning a significant number are drawing on public services and not helping to grow the economy.”

Earlier this year, tougher rules were announced for students bringing dependents to the UK. Undergraduate students are no longer allowed to bring their partners or children.

Cleverly also indicated that the health surcharge payable by foreign job seekers will rise by 66 per cent – from 624 pounds to 1,035 pounds.

Without criticising the move, the opposition Labour party’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper maintained the new proposals are “an admission of years of total failure by this Conservative government”.

She slammed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak by saying he is “clearly veering” without “steering” and is being “pushed around all over the place”.

The Scottish National Party spokesperson said Cleverly’s pronouncement will be judged on whether it’s “pandering to the right wing of his party”.

The chair of the Independent Care Group warned: “I think we are going to find more businesses fail, care homes closing.”

It appears post-study work (PSW) visas available after finishing a masters degree in the UK will not as yet come under the new guidelines. This will come as a relief to Indian students, who numbered 120,000 in 2021-22. (Agency)

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