UK to let in 20,000 skilled Indians yearly bypassing government’s new immigration caps

February 20th, 2011 - 12:37 pm ICT by ANI  

David Cameron London, Feb 20 (ANI): Britain would reportedly allow thousands of Indians to enter the country every year under a European Union (EU) trade deal.

The multibillion-pound EU India Free Trade Agreement, which was initiated by former Trade Commissioner Lord Mandelson in 2007, and is expected to be signed by the end of June, will allow Indian workers, mostly skilled IT professionals, to bypass the Government’s new immigration caps, the Daily Express reports.

The paper also said that Britain is preparing to accept 20,000 skilled Indian workers every year, 40 per cent of the proposed quota for all 27 countries in the EU.

The proposed deal is a contrast to last year’s announcement made by Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain would put an annual restriction on at least 20,700 skilled non-EU workers.

The workers would reportedly enter via controversial “intra-company transfer visas” that allow foreign companies to send cheap homegrown labours to Britain for a maximum of five years.

Business Secretary Vince Cable had won a cabinet battle last November to ensure the visas were exempt from the Government’s new points-based immigration cap, the paper said.

Meanwhile, the free trade deal has been criticized by many analysts in Britain who think that it would “punch a huge hole in our immigration controls”.

Sir Andrew Green of campaign group Migration Watch said: “The negotiations over a trade agreement between the EU and India are threatening to punch a huge hole in our immigration controls. What is the point of the British government limiting economic migration to 20,000 a year and then letting in another 20,000 Indians?”

“Cable’s Business Department seem to be blind to the impact on British workers. With unemployment now close to two and a half million it is shameful that these negotiations should be so shrouded in secrecy,” he added.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has urged Cable to urgently clarify the impact on British jobs, adding: “We have long held concerns about intra-company transfers as employers do not have to make a business case for importing oversees staff or look to recruit in the UK first.”

About 30,000 intra-company transfer visas have reportedly been issued to Indian nationals in the past two years. (ANI)

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