57% UK work visas issued to Indians in 2016

57% UK work visas issued to Indians in 2016

Indians make for over half the applicants in the category of work visas

The Dollar Business Bureau 

Of all the people who have migrated to UK on work visas, Indians contributed 57%, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). In 2016, Indians accounted for 53,575 work visas from UK, out of a total number of 93,244. USA's figure of 9,348, although second biggest, is far behind India's. 

An industry-wise division of skilled Indian workers highlights IT as the biggest sponsor of work visas, constituting 42% of total work visas. While professional, technical and scientific activities comprised 19%, another 12% was attributed to insurance and financial sector. 

Also, Indians make for more than half the applicants in this category of visas. Of a total number of 56,058 applications, 30,556 were from Indians. According to statistics from 2010, 40% of the total work visas were issued to Indian. From the same group, 12% may extend their stay beyond a period of five years. 

For the year 2016, 11,330 student visas were granted to Indians. Such a large share of Indians in the foreign skilled-worker population of UK shows that the British economy is greatly dependent on labour from India. This also provides a concrete talking point for the Indian government to push for relaxation of norms in cross-border movement of labour, even post-Brexit, which was a move evoked predominantly by xenophobic UK citizens. The mobility of people is key to the Indian IT exports, for which, Europe is the second largest market. However, UK's target to bring down net migration well below 100,000 could mean huge cuts in visas, to the detriment of both UK's and India's fledgling service sector. 

A record number of immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania during 2016 was also a highlight from the report. Overall immigration figures, especially from within EU member countries is expected to decline in future as hardline right-wing PM Theresa May leads UK into an era of anti-immigrant protectionism.

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The Dollar Business Bureau - Feb 24, 2017 12:00 IST