UK’s new system of visas seeks ‘brightest’

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UK border signs at passport control in London's Heathrow Airport. Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

The UK has announced a new points-based immigration system, ensuring that it continues to attract the brightest and the best from around the world, including India. The new system will take effect from January 1, 2021.

The new “Points-Based Immigration System” will award points for specific skills, professions, salaries or qualifications/attributes, and visas will be awarded to those who gain sufficient points.

The system will provide simple, effective, and flexible arrangements for skilled workers to come to the UK, the British High Commission said on Wednesday.

The new single global system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally, giving top priority to those with the highest skills and the greatest talents, including scientists, innovators and academics.

The minimum general salary threshold will be reduced to £25,600 ($33,000), down from the previously proposed £30,000.

The UK will also announce a reformed “Global Talent” route. This will include a new fast-track scheme for world-leading scientists, top researchers and mathematicians to come to the UK.

This will run alongside the “Points-Based Immigration System” and will allow a small number of highly skilled workers to come to the UK without a job offer.

Acting British High Commissioner to India Jan Thompson said: “The new Points-Based Immigration System is great news for Indian nationals looking to work in the UK.

“It puts Indian applicants on a level playing field, and prioritises those with the greatest skills and talent – something which India has in abundance,” she said.

These developments come on the back of the UK’s Graduate route announcement, which will allow eligible international students – including those from India – to stay in the UK for two years after completing their studies to work or look for work.

The new Graduate route will be introduced from summer next year. There continues to be no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK to study.

Indian nationals continue to receive more skilled work visas than the rest of the world combined, accounting for 52 per cent of all Tier 2 visas granted globally last year.

Over half a million UK visit visas were issued to Indians last year, up almost 10 per cent from 2018.

THE STATESMAN (INDIA)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK