UK work permit issue to be raised by India

27 Sep 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Troubles in obtaining UK work permits and visas are expected to be brought up in discussions in India.

British secretary of state for justice Kenneth Clarke is to meet with Indian commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma today (Tuesday, September 27th) to talk about a number of issues in trade and business between the two countries.

The UK immigration cap is among the topics on the agenda, with an official from the Commerce Ministry explaining India's concerns regarding the recently-imposed limits. The official explain that skilled Indians could be prevented from reaching the UK, preventing the natural flow of human capital and risking a negative impact on both profit margins and competition.

A restriction on skilled migration could also adversely affect the growing trade and economic partnership between the UK and India, the official observed.

At the moment, the UK represents an important partner for India, accounting for export purchases of over $7 billion. The UK is also the fourth largest destination of foreign direct investment inflow into India.

However, cracking down on the flow of working talent between the two countries also poses a risk to the British economy as a substantial number of Indian companies holding investments in the UK, particularly in the information and communications technology sector.

Earlier this year the government imposed an annual limit of 20,700 UK Tier 2 work permits. While intra-company transfers are excluded from this figure, the decision to limit skilled immigration from outside the European Economic Area prompted concern from a number of business groups worried that they will be unable to hire essential talent.