FICCI on Wednesday expressed concerns over the UK government’s recent announcements indicating tightening of visa regulations for students and professionals from outside the European Union, including India. The industry body called on the British government to exercise “caution” in light of plans announced recently by UK home secretary Amber Rudd to tighten migration rules, which is expected to impact Indians heavily.
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The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said it fears the new proposals seek to reduce the flow of immigrants from outside the EU to the UK in the short and medium term.
This will impact business mobility and, therefore, competitiveness, it said in a statement.
“International students contribute 8 billion pounds a year to the UK economy and in recent years the attractiveness of the UK as an education destination for Indian students has diminished because of restrictions on part-time work rights in 2012, followed in subsequent years by the removal of post-study work visas, expansion of credibility interviews and the creation of the NHS (National Health Service) levy,” it said.
Highlighting that while migration was a key part of the debate during the Brexit vote earlier this year, it said it was important for the UK to remain open following the vote to leave the European Union (EU) in a referendum in June.
“As we become an ever more globalised world, it is important to work together to reduce barriers to mutual economic progress. We are concerned such proposals, which impact students and professionals alike, risk sending the wrong message to companies already nervous about the risks of Brexit,” the statement said.
During the Conservative Party conference earlier this month, Rudd had announced a consultation on new restrictions on overseas students, including two-tier visa rules depending on the quality of university or institution, as well as a 140-million-pound “controlling migration fund”.