UK: Immigration rules to hit Indian professionals

Several Indian professionals will be adversely affected by Britain`s new immigration rules that come into effect on Wednesday.

London: Several Indian professionals will
be adversely affected by Britain`s new immigration rules that
come into effect on Wednesday as part of the David Cameron
government`s efforts to reduce migration from non-European
Union countries.

The new immigration regime includes tighter rules for
students, limits on skilled professionals and new restrictions
on the settlement of migrants who are already in Britain.

The HSMP Forum, a campaign group espousing the cause
of Indian and other non-EU migrants, on Tuesday said the new
restrictions on migrants already in Britain will cause
considerable problems for Indian and other non-EU

Indian professionals already in Britain will face
retrospective changes to their visa status from Wednesday,
including a higher level of salary necessary for their
continuing stay, and the stipulation that any application for
settlement should be free of any convictions, including fines
for driving offences imposed by a court.

Ravi Kumar Oruganti, an IT consultant who moved to
Britain in 2007, was convicted for traffic offence in February
2011 and a court fine after he accidentally hit a lamppost.

Although he was eligible for settlement (indefinite
leave to remain), in a year`s time, he would no longer be
eligible under the new rules.

Oruganti said, "According to the new rules, I will not
qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain until 2016 because the
unspent conviction falls within the criminality threshold. I
am very much depressed by these new changes, which are being
applied retrospectively.

"I strongly feel it is unfair to change the rules for
existing migrants. It causes great misery and uncertainty to
hard working people like me who contribute so much to the UK
economy yet live in the constant fear of a last minute

The HSMP Forum wrote to Immigration Minister Damian
Green earlier urging him for a rethink on the proposed

The Forum said the changes were announced even though
the government`s own Migration Advisory Committee was
reluctant to suggest retrospective changes for migrants
already in the UK.

The Forum said that applying the rules retrospectively
meant that many migrants coming from India and other non-EU
countries will be deprived of their right to settlement even
after fulfilling the rules under which they entered the

Under earlier rules, Indian and non-EU professionals
qualified for settlement when they completed a residency
period and remained employed by their immigration sponsor.

However, from Wednesday, the government will expect
them to meet an income requirement assigned to their
particular job title by the Codes of Practice (for sponsored
skilled workers) to qualify for the `indefinite leave to
remain` status.

The current rates of salary defined by the codes of
practice are comparatively much higher than the salaries
mentioned in the work permits approved by the Home Office at
the time.

Amit Kapadia, executive director of the HSMP Forum
said, "The changes will cause undeniable hardship. The
government’s approach is not only unfair but is both short
sighted and heavy-handed. The government should stop targeting
the very people who are required by Britain."

He added, "Such changes will give a wrong picture to
migrants and investors that even after they fulfil the rules,
they would not be treated fairly. It will discourage investors
and skilled migrants from coming to Britain.

"We urge the government to review the changes urgently
and exempt existing Tier 1 and Tier 2 migrants from these