An EU agreement expected to be signed in December would give Indian IT professionals, engineers and manager the abilities to work anywhere in Europe.
11 October 2010
EU trade deal threatens to overturn Coalition’s restrictive UK Visa cap
A new European Union trade deal with India threatens the Coalition’s pledge to limit immigration through the UK Visa cap.
A planned EU "free trade agreement" with India, expected to be signed in December, will give skilled Indian IT workers, engineers and managers the ability to work in Europe. In return under the agreement European companies will gain access to India's domestic market.
Senior figures in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition have been split by the decision.
It has been reported that Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, argue that the EU-India agreement must go ahead because it is worth hundreds of millions of pounds to business, but David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and Theresa May, the Home Secretary, are opposed.
Government made a pledge to bring down the net UK immigration rate, which is currently at 176,000 entrants a year.
An interim UK Visa cap is now in place. The cap applies to all new applicants under Tier 1 (General), except for extension applications and in-country applications. Applications under Tier 2 (General) are limited by the number of Employer Sponsorship Licences that are issued.
Cabinet talks about the agreement begin next week.
The European Commission has asked for comments by the end of this month from British and other EU governments on the agreement, which was agreed with Indian authorities over the summer.
India wants on increased mobility for its skilled workers in return for reduced tariffs on European products and the lifting of some restrictions on businesses bidding for public procurement contracts.
Under the current EU negotiating position, Indians who are skilled professionals will be able to work in any EU country under contract.
Britain will be bound by any final EU agreement and British companies will be able to recruit in sectors such as information technology, management consultancy and engineering.
However, some politicians believe the EU should not be doing trade deals on the behalf of Britain and that the UK Visa cap is non-negotiable.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their UK Visa applications to the British Embassy.