21 January 2009
India confronts UK about visa troubles
Indian representatives took the opportunity to question the consistent troubles faced by Indians in obtaining UK visas at the India-UK Joint Economic Trade Committee (JETCO).
Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said he raised the issue of UK visas to the British Secretary of State for Business and Enterprise, Lord Peter Mandelson, saying that in certain types of UK visas there are problems for Indians and that it is hoped changes would be made.
Nath said the British Home Office needs to reassess the red tape surrounding the application process for Indians.
He also said any improvements to the process would benefit trade and business for both countries, particularly in the manufacturing, financial services, skill development and infrastructural sectors.
This week, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced new rules regarding the advertising of jobs overseas. Under the new rules, all available skilled jobs, including those in the nursing, construction, and hotel management sectors, must be advertised on the Jobcentre Plus network before being advertised overseas. Smith believes this would ultimately give Brits "the first crack at the whip" and stem the rising unemployment rate (which is almost at 2 million people).
However, some are concerned the new rules would greatly disadvantage those looking to move to the UK from India. Under the new system for UK immigration, an employer with a valid Employer Sponsorship Licence must sponsor non-EU workers looking for a work permit in the UK. Any cutbacks in the advertising for skilled positions in Britain would make this process more difficult for Indians.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.
Article by Jessica Bird, UK Visa Bureau.