London: Britain is preparing to let in some 20,000 skilled Indian workers every year, a media report said, citing secret documents.
The Indian migrants, most of them skilled information technology professionals, are to be allowed into the UK every year under the multi-billion-pound European Union-India Free Trade Agreement which is being negotiated in the corridors of Belgian capital Brussels, the `Sunday Express` reported.
In fact, the workers will enter via controversial "intracompany transfer visas" which allow foreign companies to send cheap home grown labour to Britain for a maximum of five years, the report said.
The deal was initiated by former EU Trade Commissioner Lord Mandelson in 2007 and is expected to be signed by the end of June, it said.
The deal will not only allow Indian workers to bypass the British government`s new immigration caps, but would also exempt them from the National Insurance in their first year, though they may use the National Health Service for free.
According to the report, the figure of 20,000 Indian workers is nearly 40 percent of the proposed quota for all 27 countries in the EU; it is more than double the next highest figure for Germany, which will take just 7,115 a year.
It is also in addition to the 20,700 annual cap on skilled non-EU workers, which was announced to great fanfare by British Prime Minister David Cameron last year. And, UK`s Business Secretary Vince Cable won a cabinet battle November to ensure the visas for Indian workers were exempt from the government’s new points-based immigration cap.