Indian IT firms threaten to relocate because of UK visa changes

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Indian officials warned the UK that Indian IT companies may relocate their businesses to other countries, if the UK government insists on tough visa rules which affect Indian IT professionals.

India's commerce and industry minister, Anand Sharma discussed the issues with UK Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne at the India-UK joint Economic and Trade Commission meeting on 16 April. Sharma added that employees from Indian companies who want to visit the UK for business meetings also experience long delays in obtaining a UK visit visa.

UK immigration recently discussed reducing the number of migrant workers allowed into the UK via the Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) route following recommendations from the UK's Migration Advisory Committee. However, Osborne assured Sharma that the UK had decided not to make any change in the ICT route for the next two years. The proposed changes had upset Indian IT businesses and the Indian government as this would have meant raising the income threshold to qualify for a UK Tier 2 intra-company transfer visa and placing a cap on UK Tier 2 ICT visas.

Sharma also added that since the closure of the Tier 1 post-study work visa route, Indian students are now looking for options to study in other countries. One of the benefits for Indian students coming to the UK in the past has been that they have the right to work in the UK after graduation. They then have the opportunity to recover at least part of the cost of their education at an UK university. It is now much more difficult to do this.

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