Indian IT industry criticises UK Tier 2 visa plans

02 Nov 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Top Indian software companies are lobbying the UK Government over plans to make it harder for skilled workers to obtain Tier 2 visas.

India’s National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) said that further restrictions to the entry route would lead to higher costs for Indian IT companies operating in Britain. This could lead to businesses moving to other countries for competitive reasons, to the detriment of the UK economy.

The memo, submitted to the Migration Advisory Committee, said skilled workers had little impact on immigration numbers but by making it harder to recruit non-EU skilled staff, the UK could impact its own productivity, competitiveness and trade.

Gagan Sabharwal, director for global trade development at Nasscom, said: “Caps, quotas and increased salaries are all going to be counterproductive as it will create a distortion in the UK economy.”

Of around 330,000 Indians with UK visas, only around 13,000 are there as long-term skilled foreign workers with visas allowing them to stay in Britain for up to five years, Mr Sabharwal said. He pointed out that removing them would have little effect on the UK Government’s target of bringing net migration numbers down to the “tens of thousands”.

The Migration Advisory Committee has been collecting feedback from stakeholders in the UK and overseas organisations that use the Tier 2 visa route as part of its investigation into whether to toughen up the scheme. It is due to report back to the Government on its findings before the end of the year.

Proposals to make it more expensive and more difficult to bring non-EU skilled workers into Britain have been roundly condemned both by British businesses and by overseas companies operating in the UK.