Britain chooses India to introduce new visa regimeMarch 31st, 2008 - 9:39 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) Britain will launch a new points-based visa regime Tuesday for professionals and highly-skilled people from India wishing to migrate to that country. India will become the first country to get a taste of the new British visa regime, which will be extended to the rest of the world later in the year.
Under the new visa regime, applicants will need sufficient points to qualify. “Points are awarded for objective criteria such as qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience,” said a release from the British high commission here.
The introduction of the point-based system-Tier 1 (PBS-TO), which covers highly skilled migrants, entrepreneurs, investors, and graduate students, replaces the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP), the Entrepreneur and Investor schemes and the International Graduates programme.
The initial visa will be given for three years as against two years under the previous systems.
British high commissioner to India Richard Stagg said the new visa regime would be “a quicker and more straightforward process”.
“The new system allows those wanting to work in Britain to calculate, before they make their application, whether their points add up to entry as a highly skilled worker.”
“What was a two-stage application process now has only one stage - and the initial visa will be granted for three years not two. The new system therefore facilitates the flow of people with the skills that the UK needs,” the British envoy said Monday ahead of the rollout of the point-based system.
“We want India to come first because India is Britain’s most important market for highly skilled migrants,” British Immigration Minister Liam Byrne had said during his visit to India in February.
The new system has been designed to streamline the visa process for legitimate travellers and to weed out those intending to cheat the system so that unwanted outsiders do not enter Britain and settle there.
Anybody trying to cheat the system by using false documents or deception to try to get access to Britain will be banned from applying for a visa for 10 years.
The introduction of the point-based system coincides with fundamental changes being made to the UK’s immigration system.
It was preceded by the completion of the global biometrics programme, the introduction of severe penalties for the employers of illegal workers in the Britain and the creation of a unified UK Border Agency.
Tier 1 is the first of five tiers of the PBS to be rolled out over the next 12 months.
Tier 2, targeting skilled workers with a job offer and Tier 5, for temporary workers will both come online in the third quarter of 2008.
Tier 4 for students will follow in early 2009.
Tier 3, which covers low skilled migration routes, will only be used if shortages are identified that cannot be filled from the UK or European labour force, the High Commission said.