India to tackle UK over Tier 2 visa changes

28 Mar 2016 | By Carl Thomas
The Indian government is to lobby British authorities over changes to the Tier 2 visa, which will affect an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Indian nationals currently living and working in the UK.
The changes to the regulations that come into force next month mean that people working in Britain on a Tier 2 visa must earn £35,000 annually after five years in the country if they want to remain. Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she intended to “take it up with the British authorities”.
This is not the first time the Indian government has intervened in visa changes that were set to be detrimental to its a nationals. It also tackled the US via the World Trade Organisation (WTO), over the imposition of higher working visa fees.
The Minister told The Hindu: “We have challenged (the US) in the WTO... we have challenged one, so the principle applies for anybody else.”
Indian workers make up the bulk of those overseas nationals working in the UK on a Tier 2 visa, with almost 78 per cent of the approved 55,589 applications in 2014-2015 coming from India. The certificate of sponsorship from companies employing overseas workers on a Tier 2 visa is valid for six years, and after five years, people can apply for indefinite leave to remain in Britain.
The Indian government is concerned about the effects of the changes on Indian workers already in the UK, who would face deportation if they were not earning the £35,000 minimum at the end of five years in Britain.
It’s thought up to 40,000 Indian workers could be hit by the controversial new salary ruling and would have to return to their home countries if they were not earning the required amount.