In a report by Computer Weekly it is claimed that UK IT professionals potentially face increased and unfair competition from Indian Tier 2 visa holders working for UK Employers with a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence, if the UK agrees a free trade deal with India, post-Brexit. Speaking in London recently, YK Sinha – India’s high commissioner to the UK – said that any future trade deal between Britain and India rests on Britain’s willingness to relax skilled worker visa rules.
It does seem to be somewhat unlikely that the tier 2 visa requirements for Indian IT professionals and other tier 2 visa holders will be relaxed any time soon. In many cases employers need to complete a resident labour market test to show that there is no one suitable to fill the vacancy who already have the right to work in the UK. There are also specific salary requirements for tier 2 visa holders. In many cases Indian IT professionals will earn more than UK IT professionals.
If anything the UK Government is making it more and more difficult for employers with tier 2 sponsorship licences to employ skilled workers on tier 2 visas. On 6 April 2017 an immigration skills charge of £1,000 per year was brought in to make it even more expensive to employ overseas workers on tier 2 visas.
Officials in India, which has the sixth biggest economy in the world, said a free trade deal is ‘unlikely’ if Britain refuses to relax rules on the movement of Indian professionals wanting to work in the UK.
Sinha said: “India isn’t asking for unfettered access or unrestricted travel, but the free movement of professionals, doctors, technicians and engineers. I think both sides will benefit from this exchange and obviously it has to be a two-way exchange, not just one way.”