As British Prime Minister Theresa May lands in the IT city on Tuesday, the Karnataka government on Monday expressed concerns over changes in the UK visa rules. “The recent decision of the UK government to make visas more expensive and more difficult is creating disquiet in Bengaluru,” Karnataka Industries Minister R V Deshpande said.
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Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said just as London was concerned about passport rights for its financial services industry after Brexit, “we are concerned about difficulties in cross border work”.
“Technology is global today and restrictions like this, which prevent great talent from working globally, will inhibit competitiveness of the UK industry,” he added. Deshpande was speaking at an event organised to announce “ThinkBig 2016”, which is projected to be Asia’s largest women entrepreneurship and economic empowerment summit, to be held on November 14-15.
Under the new visa rules announced last week by the UK Home Office, anyone applying after November 24 under the Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) category would be required to meet a higher salary threshold requirement of 30,000 pounds from the earlier 20,800 pounds. Stating that what IT industry needs was a visa which enabled their engineers to travel to the UK, work on the projects from 3/12 months and come back, he said they were not looking for immigration visas but for projects as such work is global.
Pointing out there were also concerns relating to study and tourist visa, he expressed hope that the UK government would look into the request.
“Together we can create a competitive partnership to address global markets…” he added. The ICT route is largely used by Indian IT companies in Britain, and the UK’s Migration Advisory Committee had found earlier this year that Indian IT workers accounted for nearly 90 per cent of visas issued under this route. Dismayed at the UK’s proposed changes in visa system that will impact skilled IT migration, software body Nasscom had sought a high skilled worker mobility pact to safeguard the economic interests of both nations.
According to sources, May, who will be on a day long visit to the city, is scheduled to hold a meeting with Chief Minister Siddaramaih. She is also expected to visit Dynamatics Technologies – an aerospace and hydraulic pumps manufacturer and Stonehill School.