Britain will remain an Attractive Destination for Indian Migrants

UK – India Immigration Round – up for 2022 and Outlook for 2023 by A Y & J Solicitors, United Kingdom

~ Self – Sponsorship becomes the viable route for UK Immigration ~

London / Mumbai, 2023: The numbers of Indian workers moving to the UK is expected to remain high, although the global economic slowdown expected in 2023, coupled with a political will in the UK to wean businesses off cheap overseas labour and train more domestic talent, will see numbers decline slightly from the 2022 record.

Further, Britain will remain an attractive destination for Indian migrants as the country’s economy continues to remain robust. Most recently the UK economy bucked the international trend and grew unexpectedly by 0.1%. The cultural and historic links between the two nations remain strong, boosted by the ‘Rishi effect’, observed in an annual “UK – India Immigration Round – up 2022 and Outlook for 2023” published by A Y & J Solicitors, a London – based Solicitors and Immigration firm. Mr Yash Dubal, Director and Visa Expert at A Y & J Solicitors made these observations while publishing the Note.

The Note further states that there were several changes to UK immigration policy in 2022. The Note also observed that for Indian workers, the Skilled Worker Visa remained the most popular visa route. In February the Tier 1 (investor) visa was cancelled. The Innovator visa route was launched in the autumn and was aimed at investors in tech industries. The Innovator visa targets those with ‘skills and experience relevant to investment in the innovative business ecosystem’. New rules were introduced to replace the Sole Representative Visa, which was popular with Indian entrepreneurs establishing UK branches of their native businesses. Replacing the Sole Representative Visa route with the new UK Expansion Worker visa will have a ‘significant impact’ as it makes it harder for representatives who come to the UK to establish new branches and subsidiaries to gain settlement rights.

Increasing numbers of investors from India will use the self-sponsor route pioneered by British legal firm A Y & J Solicitors. The process is used by genuine migrant entrepreneurs serious about setting up bona fide businesses in the UK. Self-sponsorship is open to a much wider pool of international entrepreneurs and investors than covered by previous and current routes.

Following is a detailed Note:
UK – India Immigration Round – up for 2022:
The year 2022 was a year of political turmoil in the UK, the effects of which were felt in India. The nation had three Prime Ministers in the space of 12 months: Boris Johnson, Liz Truss (the shortest premiership in British history, and Rishi Sunak). Mr Sunak was voted in by the ruling Conservative Party as a ‘safe pair of hands’, after several tumultuous months. As such the first months of his term of office have been relatively quiet, with few big policy announcements in regard to legal immigration (illegal immigration is a different matter and will be the main preoccupation of the Government throughout 2023).

Largely because of the revolving door at Number 10, a free trade deal with India remained elusive. Success Prime Ministers voiced ambitions to complete the deal but were distracted by domestic political issues. Mr Sunak, who will be in Number 10 for the foreseeable future, has indicated that he too is keen to sign a deal, but will not sacrifice speed for the sake of quality.

There were several changes to UK immigration policy in 2022. In February the Tier 1 (investor) visa was cancelled. Nicknamed the ‘golden visa’, this route allowed wealthy individuals to live and work in the UK in exchange for a £2m investment in the country and was closed amid concerns that it was being abused by money launderers and Russian oligarchs aligned to the Putin regime. A review later in the year found that only a small number of investors who used the route had links to crime and corruption. The cancellation of the route effectively closed the door to many wealthy Indian entrepreneurs who planned on migrating to the UK.

The Innovator visa route was launched in the autumn and was aimed at investors in tech industries. Indeed, the UK’s immigration policy is heavily weighted towards tech workers. Consequently many of the new visas are particularly relevant to Indian tech workers – many of whom have lost jobs this year due to a downturn in the sector.
The Innovator visa targets those with ‘skills and experience relevant to investment in the innovative business ecosystem’. Applicants are subject to an independent assessment by qualified endorsing bodies.

In a similar vein, the Scale-Up visa route was introduced in August. This visa is targeted at highly skilled graduates wishing to work for UK companies which can show an annualized growth of at least 20% over the last three years and that had at least 10 employees at the beginning of the period.
The High Potential Individual visa route, designed to entice graduates from top global universities was also launched in 2022 but was controversial in India. The visa is open to individuals who graduate from a UK government-approved list of educational establishments. Of the 37 universities that appear on this list, none are based in India, Africa, South America and the Middle East.
New rules were introduced to replace the Sole Representative Visa, which was popular with Indian entrepreneurs establishing UK branches of their native businesses. A new Global Business Mobility system combines several visa routes for workers coming to the UK to work for subsidiaries of their native employers or to set up UK branches. The new system is supposed to make the visa application process easier. However, experts say while most of the changes are purely administrative, replacing the Sole Representative visa route with the new UK Expansion Worker visa will have a ‘significant impact’ as it makes it harder for representatives who come to the UK to establish new branches and subsidiaries to gain settlement rights.

Figures released late in the year showed record numbers of migrants to the UK. In the year to June 2022 1.1m long term migrants arrived in the UK. Indian nationals made up the largest percentage of these. For Indian workers, the Skilled Worker Visa remained the most popular visa route. Figures published in August showed that nearly 118,000 Indian students received a Student visa in the year ending June 2022 – an 89% increase from the previous year. Indian nationals accounted for the highest proportion (28%) of Visitor visas granted and Indian nationals also received nearly 103,000 Work visas (which includes skilled and seasonal workers) – a 148% increase over the previous year. Indian nationals continue to be the top nationality granted Skilled Worker visas, accounting for 46% of all skilled work visas granted globally.
Outlook for UK Immigration for the year 2023 from India perspective:
There are not expected to be any wholesale changes to the Skilled Worker Visa route and the numbers of Indian workers moving to the UK is expected to remain high, although the global economic slowdown expected in 2023, coupled with a political will in the UK to wean businesses off cheap overseas labour and train more domestic talent, will see numbers decline slightly from the 2022 record.

Britain will remain an attractive destination for Indian migrants as the country’s economy continues to remain robust. Most recently the UK economy bucked the international trend and grew unexpectedly by 0.1%. The cultural and historic links between the two nations remain strong, boosted by the ‘Rishi effect’.

Trade talks will resume, and it is likely that, if there are no more political upheavals in the UK, an agreement will be made. As has been the case in the past, access to the UK for Indian workers will remain a detail to be ironed out. Mr Sunak did, however, offer a concession in the form of 3,000 two-year visas for Indian young professionals. This is unlikely to be enough, however. Negotiations will be hard, and Mr Sunak will not make more concessions easily. Expect the UK to be cautious over handing too many advantages to Delhi in negotiations, as a previous deal with Australia has been widely seen to disadvantage Britain.

After the revelations that only a few ‘golden visa’ holders were involved in nefarious activity, we can expect to see some form of new investor visa, albeit one with much more stringent criteria. In the meantime, increasing numbers of investors from India will use the self-sponsor route pioneered by British legal firm A Y & J Solicitors. The process is used by genuine migrant entrepreneurs serious about setting up bona fide businesses in the UK. Self-sponsorship is open to a much wider pool of international entrepreneurs and investors than covered by previous and current routes.

The British technology sector will continue to reach out to India and Indian workers and develop trade links, regardless of a trade deal. £29.4 billion flowed into UK tech companies last year, the biggest year-on-year increase since 2013/14. In 2022 UK and Indian businesses confirmed over £1 billion in new investments and export deals, the majority of which were in tech-based businesses including software engineering and property tech. Indian software company Mastek which is investing £79 million to create 1600 jobs in the UK over the next three years while Tech Mahindra, an IT services company, will bolster AI growth and create 1,000 jobs.

The top three visa routes for Indian businesses and workers in 2023 are predicted to be skilled worker visas, global mobility visas and self-sponsorship.
Yash Dubal, director or A Y & J Solicitors said: “Due to the political situation in the UK last year, trade negotiations were postponed but this year, with a more stable government, things will normalise and attention will once again turn to finalising a deal. The UK has repeatedly stated that a deal with India remains its priority and the appointment of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister is seen as a good omen in India. He will drive a hard bargain however.

“Immigration will continue to boom, despite some of the messaging coming from sections of the Government. There was widespread concern when figures released in the UK last year showed record levels of migration. However, this rise in numbers was largely attributed to visa schemes for Ukrainian refugees and people from Hong Kong who held BNO status.

There will be some tinkering with the immigration system to reduce numbers. This will likely focus on student visa numbers and on dependents of visa holders. The issue of small boats full of illegal migrants crossing the English Channel will preoccupy the Government in 2023. This will be where the main political focus will be.”

Ends

About A Y & J Solicitors
A Y & J Solicitors is an award-winning, boutique immigration law firm based in London. They are recommended by Legal 500 and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA ID: 633686). They are one of the leading UK immigration solicitors in London and offer quick, reliable and accurate immigration solutions. Over the last decade, their personalized immigration advice, counselling and services have enabled more than 4000 clients to achieve their personal and business immigration aims and objectives. They are experts in immigration assistance, business immigration, industry solution, citizenship, personal immigration and premium visa services.

Website: https://ayjsolicitors.com/

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