Nasscom welcomes UK govt’s Visa cap

LONDON: United Kingdom's coalition government has announced the critical number of "cap" for skilled and highly-skilled workers from outside the EEA at 21,700 for next year, lower than the 43,000 limit suggested by the UK government's migration advisory committee. The figure is a cut of 6,300 on the equivalent figure for 2009.

The apex software companies association Nasscom has welcomed the approach taken and reiterated its commitment to enhance trade linkages with UK.

UK is a key market for the Indian IT-BPO industry and Indian companies have built a successful partnership with business and government in UK to enhance competitiveness, enable service delivery and create value for both economies.

The Indian IT industry largely uses the Intra Company Transfers (ICTs) under Tier 2 for project execution and other related assignments in the UK. As per the policy announced, short term visas (less than 12 months) and intra-company transfers are exempt from the cap. Most ICTs are used for short term work and beyond 12 months, there is no cap on the visas, but there has been an increase in the minimum salary level to 40,000 pounds.

In the last year, Nasscom engaged extensively with policy makers and trade partners in UK to provide perspectives and facts that enable business to access a global talent pool and at the same time increase local employment. The organisation made several representations to the UK Government including the Borders Agency, Migration Advisory Committee and even given evidence to the Homer Affairs Select Committee in the British Parliament.

Ameet Nivsarkar, VP, Global Trade Development, Nasscom, said, "Nasscom has consistently highlighted the need for business friendly visas and had cited the severe problems that global companies encounter because of a cap system that operates in other geographies. We are pleased that as per our representation, there is no cap imposed on Intra Company Transfers (ICTs) of skilled professionals. We are assessing the impact of the salary requirement on longer term visas; however, we feel that there may be a marginal cost impact both for the providers of these services and the customers. We will continue to work with the industry and the UK Government to ensure that the rollout of the new system is smooth and with minimal impact."

Indian IT companies have been at the receiving end of accusations about 'misuse' of the intra-company transfer route, after it was revealed that the maximum number of intra-company transfers went to them last year.

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