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In late 2022, Rishi Sunak announced that the UK will offer 3,000 places annually to 18-30-year-old degree-educated Indian nationals to live and work in UK for up to two years.
The first ballot opens at 2.30pm India Standard Time on 28 February 2023 and closes at 2.30pm India Standard Time on 2 March 2023. It is a simple and free process to enter the ballot and successful entries will be picked at random. After this, they will be invited to apply for the visa which costs £259 and the Immigration Health Surcharge of £470 per year. There are up to 2,400 visas available in this ballot, with the next ballot expected in late July.
Successful applicants will be applying for a Youth Mobility Visa. This visa category already existed for certain other nationalities but this is the first time that Indian nationals have been eligible. The visa is a relatively cheap way for young migrants to come to the UK and has colloquially been known as a “backpacker visa”. Migrants have the ability to work in the UK under this visa without the normal salary and skill requirements under the points based system. However, it is not possible to extend this visa so if at the end of the two years the migrant wishes to remain in UK, they will need to switch to some other category of visa such as the Skilled Worker Visa.
The number of visas on offer is relatively small particularly when the size of India is considered. For comparison, the microstate of Monaco has an allocation of 1,000 visas per year. Considering there are around 40,000 people in the entire country they would not realistically ever use this many. However, it is likely a first step towards a closer relationship between India and the UK. It will also provide many young Indian migrants with the opportunity to live and work in the UK from which many employers will undoubtedly benefit.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Please contact our Business Immigration Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.