Skilled Indian tech workers in the United Kingdom must be viewed as a trade priority rather than an immigration issue Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah told UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May during a bilateral meeting during a one day visit to Bengaluru by the UK PM here on Tuesday.
“The movement of skilled tech workers from India should be seen as a trade priority rather than an immigration issue. Temporary placement of highly-skilled individuals in the UK provides a significant economic boost while having a negligible impact on net migration,” Siddaramaiah said referring to the high bar set for granting of UK visas by the British government.
“Madam Prime Minister, our fast growing and high value tech sectors rely upon an effective immigration policy that attracts high-skilled workers and minimises barriers to the flow of talented people,” the Karnataka chief minister said.
Siddaramaiah said that new visa rules announced by the UK Home Office would make it mandatory for tech workers moving to the UK under the Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) category to have a salary of 30,000 pounds as against the 20,800 pounds that existed earlier. He called for the UK PM to intervene in the matter to facilitate free movement of Indian tech workers to the UK.
The British Prime Minister during her visit to Bengaluru did not have a visit to any of the top Indian IT firms headquartered in the city on her agenda. She was however scheduled to meet a few executives of IT companies later in the day. As part of the business side of her itineray Theresa May visited the manufacturing facilities of the Indian aerospace engineering firm Dynamatic Technologies which manufactures aircraft components for Airbus. Dynamatic Technologies is producing wing components called flap track beams for Airbus’ twin aisle A330 aircraft.
The flap track beams – high tech guide rails fitted to the wings of the aircraft – are crucial in controlling speed, direction and balance. They are machined in Dynamatic’s factories in Swindon and Bristol in the UK and subsequently manufactured and assembled in the facility at Bengaluru. The Airbus – Dynamatic Technologies deal is worth £120 million to the UK economy over a 10-year period. It has created 60 new jobs in the UK and 100 jobs in Bengaluru.
Speaking at the Dynamatic Technolgies facility in Bengaluru on Tuesday the Britsh Prime Minister said the collaboration “demonstrates the strength of the UK’s partnership with India”.
Bengaluru: UK PM Theresa May visits Halasuru Someshwara Temple pic.twitter.com/3B8TsoiiX2
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“It showcases British technology with Indian manufacturing and delivers real benefit to both our economies, creating jobs back in Swindon and Bristol as well as here in India,” she said.
As much as 15 per cent of UK companies in India are in Karnataka and employ nearly 23,000 people in the ICT, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, health and life science sectors, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah said during his interaction with the UK prime minister.
“We seek investments from UK based firms in renewable energy and for creating smart cities. The strength of UK research and innovation and the implementation capabilities of the State of Karnataka together can help forge a unique partnership in the days to come,” he said.
In the first half of her day long visit to Bengaluru Theresa May also visited the Stonehill Government Higher Primary School on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The UK prime minister was treated to a flypast at the school by Indian Air Force jets and helicopters operating from an airbase that is located near the school. The UK PM also met the three women IAF pilots who are among the first women to be trained as pilots on the British supplied Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer.