Indian business leaders are protesting over UK plans to make it even harder for non-EU nationals to come to the UK to work.
In addition to British companies which need to bring staff into the UK due to a skills crisis in many business sectors, overseas companies with bases in Britain say that in many cases, employing people from their head offices is essential to run those operations properly.
From April next year, skilled workers coming to the UK under the Tier 2 route must earn at least £35,000 annually to qualify for indefinite leave to remain. However, the Confederation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (CII) claims that the decision to hike the salary requirement will “undermine” the contribution India companies and the country’s skilled workers are making to the UK economy.
In a statement, CII president Sumit Mazumdar, said: “We understand the concern on immigration and skills shortage in the UK. This is a huge opportunity for India and the UK to work together in strengthening skills capability and developing a globally competitive workforce.”
He said that more than 800 Indian companies are currently operating the UK. In addition to paying tax in the UK, they are responsible for recruiting British workers and training local people, but in many cases, they need to bring skilled workers to Britain from India.
“Many companies avail the ICT visa and their operations may be severely disrupted,” added Mr Sumit Mazumdar.
His views were echoed by the CII’s UK-based India Business Forum, which said that the higher salary requirements would have adverse effects on both UK and Indian companies.
The organisation is calling on the UK Government to reconsider and is aiming to set up a meeting in order to explain the potential problems the changes could cause.