regular-article-logo Wednesday, 07 June 2023

Rishi Sunak tries to address visa concerns

At a more practical level, he set out ways in which qualified Indians could come to live and work in the UK

Amit Roy London Published 02.07.22, 03:29 AM
Rishi Sunak.

Rishi Sunak. File photo

Rishi Sunak spoke to Indian journalists on Friday morning — the first time he had done so since February 2020 when Boris Johnson appointed him chancellor of the exchequer, the most important position in government after the Prime Minister.

He spoke partly about his personal story — that he was not born into a rich family — which is significant because the Labour party and others have depicted him as a multimillionaire with a non-dom wife who does not understand the struggles of ordinary people.


But he also addressed what he considered an urgent question: “How do we reimagine the UK-India relationship?”

On negotiations underway to conclude a free trade agreement with India — Boris after talks with Narendra Modi has set a Diwali deadline — Sunak said: “I remain optimistic that there’s going to be an exciting conclusion to those talks.”

At a more practical level, he set out ways in which qualified Indians could come to live and work in the UK.

It was pointed out that the HPI (High Potential Individual) visa, which allows graduates of the world’s top 50 universities to work in the UK, does not include even a single Indian institution.

He replied: “Our plan over time is to expand what we consider to be markers of high potential in individuals. So that would mean that list with all the qualifying criteria for that visa develop over time. The second thing I’d say is that visa applies to people at the university, so it will benefit Indian nationals. Because if Indian nationals themselves are studying at any of those universities anywhere in the world, it will now be so easy for them to come to the UK. They don’t have to have a job offer, they can bring their dependents with them once they’ve graduated, and just come to the UK to explore to see what they want to do and see if it will work for them. And they’ve got a couple of years to figure out there whether they want to start a business or take a job somewhere. So it’s an incredibly generous and powerful visa — which will benefit Indian citizens who are studying at any of these universities.”

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