UK relaxes business and education immigration rules
The UK has relaxed its immigration rules giving greater flexibility to students and businesses that employ and sponsor international migrants, a move likely to benefit Indians.
According to the new rules, visitors to the UK will be allowed a short period of study or training as part of their stay.
Multinational firms will be able to bring their own auditors to the UK on business visitor visas. Business visitors will also be able to do a short course of study while they are here.
The changes, announced yesterday, will make the UK more attractive to international students by allowing them to take up corporate internships after completing their degree and making it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to take up skilled jobs, an official statement said.
The British Home Office also made changes to the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa system to enable employees to extend their stay without having to take a language test.
The ICT route is already well regarded with business customers describing it is "the most user-friendly in the world", the statement said.
"The UK is open for business: we are building an immigration system that works in the national interest and supports growth," Immigration Minister Mark Harper said.
"Today's changes will ensure that the UK continues to attract global talent to work for British businesses and study at our world-class universities," he said yesterday.
"Immigration reform is working; we have tightened immigration routes where abuse was rife, while still encouraging the brightest and the best to come to the UK."
Minor changes have also been made to the Family Rules to benefit UK citizens applying to bring their Non European Economic Area spouses and children to the country as they will be given greater flexibility.
Changes to the general visit visa will enable tourists to complete training courses in topics such as English and leisure activities, the statement said.
The UK is still an attractive education destination for Indians, even after a 24 per cent drop in Indian students coming to Britain was reported during the 2011-12 academic year.
With the new rules, it will become easier for Arts Council-endorsed artists "with exceptional promise" to come to the UK to work rather than just those who have established themselves globally.
For the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, temporary immigration measures will be in place to enable athletes, coaches and officials to take part.