UK visas to get more expensive from April 6; Indians, nationals outside EU to be affected

Namrata Tripathi
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Visas to the United Kingdom (UK) are set to be more expensive and tough to get as the new rules announced by the UK Home Office last year comes into affect on April 6, Thursday.

The move is set to affect Indians and other nationals outside of the European Union (EU). The British Home Office last year in March had said the Tier 2 category of visas, which are used by many Indians and other nations, will undergo major changes from this week.

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Under the new visa rules, firms in the UK which hire Indians and other nationals outside of the EU will have to give an additional 1,000-pound annual "Immigration Skills Charge". 

"Set at 1,000 pounds per employee per year, and a reduced rate of 364 pounds for small or charitable organisations, it (Immigration Skills Charge) is designed to cut down on the number of businesses taking on migrant workers and incentives training British staff to fill those jobs," the UK Home Office said, in reference to the new levy.

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The Home Office added that an exemption to the charge will mean that the visa will not be applicable to PhD-level jobs and international students switching from student visas to working visas as "a key protection to help retain the talented workers and students who are vital in helping the British economy grow".

The additional charge on the visa and stringent regulations are some of the various changes made to the Tier 2 visa regime as a measure to reduce immigration numbers from outside of the EU.

The UK government had also announced recently that professionals like teachers, nurses and social workers from countries like India who apply to the UK for a Tier 2 visa to live and work in the country will have to provide a certificate from their home country authorities with their applications disclosing whether they have any criminal convictions.

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