The UK government’s India Young Professionals Scheme visa, created under the trade agreement between the two countries, has been criticized by experts for its stringent policies. The scheme, which allows Indian nationals to live and work in the UK for up to 24 months, has strict eligibility criteria requiring applicants to have a bachelor’s degree and £2,530 in savings, effectively excluding low-income earners. Additionally, the allocation of only 2,400 visas is considered inadequate, given India’s population of approximately 1.4 billion.
Experts are concerned that the UK government’s allocation of only 2,400 visas under the Young Professionals Scheme will not provide significant relief to UK businesses struggling with labour shortages, particularly those requiring low-skilled workers. The high cost of applying for the visa, including a £259 application fee and a £940 Immigration Health Surcharge is also viewed as prohibitive for many Indian nationals, especially given the economic challenges facing the country in recent times.
Questions Raised About UK’s Commitment to Promoting Economic and Cultural Ties with India
While the India Young Professionals Scheme is a positive step towards greater ties between India and the UK, its strict eligibility criteria, limited visa allocation, and high cost may deter deserving candidates from applying. As such, the UK government must review its immigration policy and develop new visa schemes that address the current labour shortages and promote economic and cultural ties between the two countries.
What exactly is the Young Professionals Scheme?
The UK government has agreed (albeit in a non-binding agreement) to join a scheme aimed at increasing mobility for a restricted number of young people between India and the UK as part of a new deal with India. It is similar to the present Youth Mobility Plan in that it will allow up to 3,000 Indian nationals aged 18 to 30 to travel to the UK to live and work for up to two years. In exchange, 3,000 UK people will be able to do the same in India each year.