EU under fire over deal that would see an extra 20,000 UK visas for Indian skilled workers

by Ray Clancy on February 23, 2011

UK visas for Indians pushed

The UK’s plan to drastically reduce immigration by cutting massively the number of visas given to people from outside of Europe has come unstuck after details of a supposed secret deal was revealed.

Up to 20,000 UK visas a year may be available for Indians as part of the deal with the European Union in return for an annual £4 billion in export trade.

Under the proposed deal, Britain would issue visas to thousands of workers in highly skilled professions so that they could work temporarily in the UK.

Negotiations for the EU India free trade agreement have seen New Delhi lobbying for between 35,000 and 50,000 visas a year across the EU’s 27 member states, with between 15,000 and 20,000 visas going to its citizens every year for Britain, 3,000 for France and 7,000 for Germany.

If the European Union accepts the plan it would be the first time power over migration from outside the EU had been handed to Brussels, and the first time any country has gained access to a fixed number of British visas every year.

‘The UK strongly supports the conclusion of an ambitious free trade agreement which is currently being negotiated by the Commission.  The long term benefits for both parties would be considerable and will deliver significant economic benefits to the UK, reducing both tariff and non tariff barriers to trade,’ said a spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

The EU India Free Trade Agreement was initiated by Former Trade Commissioner Lord Mandelson in 2007 and is expected to be signed by the middle of this year.

The 20,000 visas though will not count towards the Coalition government’s pledge to cap net immigration at tens of thousands from the current 170,000 a year. There is also anger that those accepted will be exempt from National Insurance in their first year but will be able to use the National Health Service.

Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of MigrationWatch UK, said the scheme ‘makes a nonsense of efforts to limit economic migration’.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rahul March 1, 2011 at 10:36 am

What is the latest on this one?
And if it is accepted, how can individuals apply for this one?

-Rahul

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Dai March 9, 2011 at 6:24 am

Well lets see….UK takes yet another 20,000 per annum allowing for us to ignore education requirements in technical industries for a while longer AND allows Europe slightly freer trade with India. Not sure I see any benefits accruing to the UK as the country no longer is capable of exporting anything apart from financial services and genetically engineered sheep.

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