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Updated NEWS December 2021

Updated NEWS December 2021

New ‘Young Professionals Scheme’ for Indian Nationals – 

Requirements – 

  1. persons aged 18 to 30 – NO Spouse
  2. updated passport
  3. provide a tuberculosis certificate 
  4. must have savings of £2,530 held for a 28-day period
  5. must not have any children aged under 18 who are either living with them or financially dependent upon them
  6. Proof of EDUCATION – Certificate of completion of 1st Degree OR Proof of 3 years WORK EXPERIENCE: an applicant must have a minimum of three years’ work experience in a professional role equivalent .

Background – 

India is already benefiting from the UK’s new points-based immigration system, which assesses applicants based on their skills and talent rather than where they are from.

According to the most recent statistics, more than 53,000 Indian students came to the UK to study last year, up 42% on the previous year. Nearly a quarter of all international students in the UK are from India. In addition, the new post-study Graduate Route – offering eligible graduates 2-3 years to stay back after studies in the UK – opened for applications on the 1 July 2021, offering yet another route for talented young Indians to build careers and experience in the UK.

Historic agreement – 

A Memorandum of Understanding titled ‘Migration and Mobility Partnership’ was signed between the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel and India’s Foreign Minister, Subrahmany Jaishankar back in May 2021. 

In this Memorandum they expressed the intention to expand the immigration options to include a ‘Young Professionals Scheme’.  It was intended to improve the mobility and migration cooperation between the two countries. The scheme was intended to be reciprocal, and the same visa terms were to be made available to British Nationals to work in India. It was expressed as a professional as well as cultural exchange programme.

In the memorandum both countries jointly decided to facilitate the exchange of young professionals, already in employment or entering working life, who wish to improve their career prospects through the experience of salaried work in a company registered in accordance with the laws and regulations of the participant’s country. 

This historic agreement is in line with the UK’s post-Brexit broader policy and reflects the UK Government’s commitment to deliver an immigration system that attracts and retains the best and brightest young foreign individuals from India and around the world. This enhances Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ambition to deliver a quantum leap in the UK’s bilateral relationship with India.

The idea was to establish a unique agreement that includes a special Young Professionals scheme to allow young Indian and British professionals to work and live in each other’s country for two years – the first such scheme for a visa-national country (countries which require visit visas to visit the UK).

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

‘The UK Government is committed to deliver an immigration system that offers clear opportunities to the brightest and best talent from India and around the world to come to the UK to study, work and live. This ground-breaking new partnership with India is an important milestone in delivering on that commitment.’

‘It will give greater freedom and opportunity to thousands of young people in the UK and India wanting to experience each other’s cultures, whilst also ensuring that we can work together to protect the vast majority of Indian nationals who do play by the rules.’

British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, said: ‘This past year has shown what the UK and India can achieve to address shared challenges – from our best and brightest delivering a Covid-19 vaccine at record-breaking speed to the invaluable medical supplies we have provided each other.’

‘The landmark Migration and Mobility Partnership announced today will create new opportunities for young Indian professionals in the UK whilst also enhancing cooperation to ensure our system supports genuine workers and students.’

‘Indian student numbers to the UK are growing fast, and nearly half of all UK skilled work visas go to Indian professionals – contributing significantly to shared prosperity and mutual understanding. I’m confident the new the post-study Graduate Route and Young Professionals scheme will significantly increase those numbers.’

This agreement and the scheme expressed were expected to increase UK-India cooperation, protect law-abiding Indian nationals and stop unfair manipulation or breach of immigration rules. It is possible that in the future similar arrangements may be contemplated regarding young nationals from additional countries and also work similarly to the Youth Mobility Scheme.

Length of stay – 

The Scheme was designed to enable Indian Nationals, who meet the relevant criteria, to stay in the UK for up to 2 years to live and gain work experience in the UK. It is not to be extended or applied for a second time. Those on the scheme are expected to leave the UK before their visa expires and it was expressed that the intention of the scheme was not to lead to residency in the UK once the visa expired. 

Family and Dependents – 

Additionally, the scheme provided the visa to the applicant only and did not appear to make provision for others to join, as family members or dependants.

English language requirements – 

The exact language requirements and English proficiency requirements were initially not clear; and today it would seem as though the applicants are expected to be able to express themselves in the language(s) of the host country. 

Qualifications – 

Applicants are expected to have a diploma or degree corresponding to a minimum of three years higher education. Or, as the case may be, the applicant must have adequate professional experience previously obtained at a comparable level and within the same general area. ( Such as Level NVQ 3)

In the case of regulated professions, the applicants must meet the occupational qualifications criteria defined by the UK.  

Structure within the UKVI Home Office Rules – 

Initially set out to be a separate scheme, this professional and cultural exchange programme was to work in a similar way to the current Youth Mobility Schemes, with India being the first visa national country (i.e. those countries which require visas to visit the UK) to benefit from this.

It has now transpired that the Home Office will integrate this Young Professionals Scheme into the pre-existing T5 ‘Youth Mobility Scheme’ visa detailing the additional requirements for this particular sub category of Indian nationals. 

The Youth Mobility Scheme –  https://www.gov.uk/youth-mobility

At the moment, applicants must be a national of one of the countries below and some are subject to a ballot process: Australia, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan. 

Availability – 

From 1 January 2022 the eligible nationalities for the Youth Mobility Scheme will be expanded to include Indian and Icelandic nationalities. 

Indian Nationals visas capped – 

It has been announced that the scheme will be capped at 3,000 young Indian professionals to come to the UK through this route each year. 

Eligibility – 

The Youth Mobility Scheme allows nationals of specific countries, to include India from the 1st January 2022, aged 18 to 30, to come to the UK for a period of two years. 

Additional qualification criteria – 

Indian applicants will need to provide evidence that they:

Hold a qualification equal to RQF / NVQ Level 6 or above (i.e. equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree or above) and provide evidence of that qualification in the form of written confirmation from the issuing institution that they successfully completed their studies and graduated with the required qualification.

Or 

Have at least three years’ work experience in a professional role (i.e. those roles that would qualify for a Skilled Worker visa under the sponsorship regime) Appendix Skilled Occupations. and provides evidence of that work experience in the form of either:

(i) formal pay slips from the applicant’s employer showing the applicant’s job

title and employer’s name; or

(ii) pay slips accompanied by a letter from the applicant’s employer, on the employer’s headed paper and signed by a senior official, confirming the pay slips are authentic.

The process – 

Indian nationals will be subject to the ballot process and will be subject to an ‘invitation to apply arrangement’. Eligible Indian nationals will need to submit an “expression of interest” to the Home Office. The Home Office will then select 3,000 individuals at random (by ballot) who will be invited to apply for a visa under this scheme.  

Ballot system – 

Indian nationals must be successfully selected in the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot before you can apply for your visa.

Ballots usually open twice a year in January and July and are open for 48 hours. Most of the places are issued in the January ballot with any remaining places issued in July. This requires anyone who is interested in applying to act quickly, making sure they register their interest in line with the ballot requirements for the January 2022 date.

All emails received within this 48 hour period will be entered into the ballot and receive an automated reply confirming receipt.

No more than one expression of interest per person will be accepted by the Home Office during each period in which they may be submitted;

If you’re successful in the ballot – 

You will have received an email if you were successful in the ballot. Once you’ve received your email you have 30 days to submit your application for the visa and pay the relevant fee. After you’ve paid, you’ll usually have 90 days to book your appointment at your visa application center (VAC) and submit your application. Check with your local visa application center if there are restrictions because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks of attending your appointment and provide your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a VAC.

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your VAC.

Your visa vignette will be valid for a period of 90 days from when you receive it. You must travel to the UK during this time.

If you cannot travel during this time, you’ll need to apply for a replacement vignette to come to the UK. You will not need to reapply for the ballot. The expiry date of your visa will not change, including if your arrival in the UK has been delayed by coronavirus.

If your visa application is successful, you’ll be able to live, work and study in the UK for up to 2 years.

If you’re unsuccessful in the ballot – you will have received an email within 1 week of the ballot closing. You’ll be able to reapply for the ballot when it reopens next, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.

Employment – 

Applicants must demonstrate their “professional” status when applying, providing their qualifications. However, they are not required to take up employment. They are not limited to working in “professional” roles. They have  flexibility in terms of living and working in the UK and may undertake any type of employment (apart from specifically excluded jobs such as professional sportsperson or coach). 

They do not need to meet minimum salary requirements, like those stipulated for a Skilled Worker visa. There is no need for sponsorship from a UK company. Therefore, Employing companies will not be required to sponsor the applicant, reducing the costs involved for the UK employer. 

It may also be possible to be self-employed in the UK, subject to certain restrictions.

Young Professionals – 

This scheme may appeal to individuals at the start or early stages of their career, enabling them to work in the UK for a temporary period. 

Workers might also find this visa useful, particularly where they intend to enter the UK to undertake contract or agency work at all levels. 

It is also an attractive option for UK employers, allowing them to place promising individuals in internships within their UK based companies or transfer existing staff from their overseas offices as an alternative to the Intra Company Transfer or Skilled Worker categories. 

Immigration status & length of stay – 

This immigration category does not lead to permanent residency rights in the UK and cannot be extended beyond the two year period. However, Youth Mobility visa holders may apply, prior to the expiry of the visa, to switch to a different type of visa, such as the Skilled Worker category without leaving the UK (subject to them meeting the relevant criteria and making a timely application).

You can enter the UK at any time while your visa is valid, and leave and come back at any time during your stay.

Financial security – 

Like all other applicants, Indian nationals who want to apply will need to show that they have £2,530 in available funds to support themselves. (prove they have sufficient personal savings)  

(You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.)

Public funds – 

Those who are successful in their applications can live, study, and work in the UK for a period of 2 years. Whilst in the UK, they cannot access public funds. 

Fees – 

The current published application fees for the youth mobility scheme stand at £244 + Immigration Health Surcharge fees.

Health surcharge – 

It was initially not clear if the applicants would be required to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge. The wording in the Memorandum suggested that applicants would receive the same treatment as host country nationals in relation to matters of law enforcement, regulations and customs governing working relations and conditions, social protection, health, hygiene and workplace safety. This would appear to ensure fair and acceptable working conditions to those on the scheme.    Today it seems as though this will be a requirement to pay. 

However, as the visa is likely to operate under the Youth Mobility scheme, then applicants are to be required to pay the healthcare surcharge, which is usually £470 per year. Payment will be made as part of your application. 

Family and Dependents – 

The applicant must not have any children aged under 18 who are either living with them or financially dependent upon them. A visa under the Youth Mobility scheme does not make provision for others to join, as family members or dependants.

Pubic funds – 

A visa under the Youth Mobility scheme does not  provide access to public funds. Therefore, individuals in the UK under this visa will not be able to seek benefits from public funds. 

TB Test – 

Indian nationals will also need to provide the Tuberculosis tests results.

Identity – 

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity. How you do this depends on where you’re from and what type of passport you have.

You’ll either:

have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application center – this is to get a biometric residence permit

use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document – you’ll also create or sign into your UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account

You’ll be told what you need to do when you apply.

If you do need an appointment:

the center may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application

you may have to travel to get to your nearest visa application center (this could be in another country)

Documentation – 

You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

If you are interested in applying – please send an email to [email protected]

PLEASE Title the email: URGENT – YMS application 

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