‘Hundreds’ of Skilled Indian Migrants Facing Visa Issues in UK, Says Indian Envoy

Rejection of visas over issues such as tax returns may bring down the number of skilled Indian migrants willing to work in UK, the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in London said.


The Indian High Commission in London has been approached by “hundreds” of skilled Indian migrants who are facing visa-related troubles in the United Kingdom, a senior Indian diplomat has said.

The UK immigration department’s move to reject residency applications of migrants over issues such as discrepancies in tax documents may cause a decrease in the number of skilled Indian migrants willing to work in the country, Dinesh Patnaik, Indian Deputy High Commissioner in London, said, the Financial Times reported. The Indian High Commission had brought to the notice of the UK Home Office the various issues being faced by the Indian community, but were only told that the concerns would be looked into, the report added.

Patnaik also mentioned the issue of thousands of migrant students being deported from Britain after being falsely accused of cheating in English language tests, and said that the incident resulted in a fall in the number of Indian students in the United Kingdom.

“If the UK really wants the best and brightest, it should not allow to happen what happened with the student issue,” Patnaik was quoted as saying in the report. “We are afraid that this would happen with the highly skilled migrants,” he added.

India is among the top five non-European Union countries sending students to pursue higher education in Britain. In 2015-16, 16,745 Indian students arrived in the United Kingdom for higher studies. In 2014-15, the figure was 18,320, and in 2013-14 it was 19,750.

Calling the Home Office’s behavior “strange” over the migrants’ issue, Patnaik told FT, “They’re contributing far more to the UK economy than they’re getting out of it.”

The Home Office reiterated that the Tier 1 visa remains an important means to attract talent and entrepreneurs to the country, the publication reported. “There are also a variety of other routes available to Indian nationals to come to the UK to work and study,” it quoted the department as saying.

The UK government’s stance against immigrants is inviting criticism from within the country as well. As many as 20 Members of Parliament (MP) of the United Kingdom and a member of the House of Lords said recently that they plan to form separate pressure groups to convince the Home Office to stop deportation of highly skilled migrants.

Many MPs and immigration experts have earlier condemned the use of the controversial Section 322(5) of the Immigration Act, that was formed partially to address terrorism and people who are assessed as threats to the security of the United Kingdom.

“It’s now clear the government’s ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy goes far wider than the Windrush scandal. We are seeing highly skilled migrants facing deportation for the most trivial reasons,” Steve Reed, an MP who is attempting to set up the group of leaders, was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

The UK Home Office earlier this month decided to suspend immigration checks on thousands of banks accounts in the wake of immigration scandals such as the Windrush controversy that hit the government recently.

Indian professionals such as engineers, tech professionals, doctors and teachers are among the applicants who have been refused a visa by the UK government since 2017. The country refused 6,080 applications for skilled overseas workers holding a job offer because of a cap on visas, according to data obtained by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE).

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