‘Fresh bid to stop Indian professionals from settling in Britain’

LONDON - Indian IT and other professionals who are transferred to Britain by their companies may not be able to apply for citizenship if a recommendation made by a government-appointed advisory committee is accepted, a lobby group alleged Friday.

The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) Forum said the Migration Advisory Committee had recommended that skilled professionals who come to Britain on intra-company transfers should not be allowed to apply for British citizenship.

Amit Kapadia, executive director of HSMP Forum, said: We are very concerned on the Migration Advisory Committees (MAC) recommendation on denying those coming on intra-company transfers under Tier 2 the right to settlement (permanent residence).

Under Britains points-based system of immigration, Tier 2 Work Permits are given to medium and highly skilled workers who have a confirmed offer of employment with a British company.

Intra-company transfers constitute 59 percent of people applying under Tier 2, and a majority of them are Indian professionals, mostly working in the IT sector. They are usually transferred for a three-year period, which can be extended to another three years.

Under current rules, immigrants who have lived lawfully in Britain for five years are considered for permanent residence status, which is the basis for applying for citizenship.

But the MAC recommendation, if accepted, would mean this would not apply to those who come to Britain under intra-company transfers even if they fulfil the conditions.

We do not see any justification whatsoever for withdrawing the right to settlement to immigrants on intra-company transfers, said Kapadia.

We believe such draconian measures will only lead to further exploitation of migrants and would deprive hardworking skilled migrants who are paying their tax and are not a burden to the public funds their due rights after spending five years in the UK.

It will also impact employers and the overall UK economy very adversely as skilled migrants from other countries would avoid coming to the UK altogether, he added.

Kapadia said the forum believed the MAC has gone beyond its scope in making the recommendation.

The main job of MAC, which includes five leading economists, is to provide independent and evidence-based advice to Government on specific sectors and occupations in the labour market where shortages exist which can sensibly be filled by migration”.

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