Saturday, March 7, 2009

UK, US plans to enforce visa curbs on Indians

The pursuance of the Portuguese passports by Goans will definitely gather more teeth with this news. Both the United States and the United Kingdom will lay down new guidelines for Indians seeking jobs in these countries as a part of a plan to contain local unemployment in these countries.

While IndiUS flagan workers' prospects will get sour with US Congress linking bailout packages to employment of United states citizens, there are an estimated 1 lakh Indian nationals from around 1,63,000 candidates across the world who had applied for the H1-B visa and who could be stranded with the new regulations coming in force.

The US has capped the H1-B visa at 65,000 a year out of which around 45,000 normally is eaten up by Indian professionals mostly from the IT sector. However with the specter of recession, these positions could now be gobbled up by low-cost foreign workers or may be outsourced to other players around the globe.

In the UK, amidst rising unemployment, Britain is trying to put in place a new immigration policy restricting professionals from India and other non-EU countries so that existing jobs are first offered to local candidates from the UK itself.

From April, the basic requirements to enter Britain under theUK flag Tier-1 category of the points based immigration system will be raised. Around 25,000 people including many from India entered  Britain under Tier 1 last year.From April, the minimum qualification required by Indian and non-EU professionals to work in the UK will be raised to a masters degree and 20,000 pounds in salary which is an enhancement from the current requirement of 17,000 pounds and an undergraduate degree.

Only those  industries officially recognised to having a skills deficit will be allowed to recruit from outside the European Union. Other changes could include migrants families banned from Britain.

The measure seems to be part of the plans by the British government to ensure that the vast bulk of jobs are first offered to British based workers in an era of rising unemployment. New restrictions are also expected to be imposed on tier 2 immigrants who enter Britain for specific jobs and are sponsored by an employer.

Dependents of professionals are also likely to come under the scanner of the Migration advisory committee who is expected to advise the government on whether dependents of a qualified person can enter the country or not. Currently if one person qualifies for entry under the points based system, the spouse and children can also enter Britain.

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