The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) visa has been around for many years and allows people under the age of 31 from a select group of countries to come to the UK for up to two years to work freely in any job they choose.This group of countries has been growing steadily over the last few years. The visa route is being used as a ‘sweetener’ in trade negotiations, with countries being allowed to use the visa route in return for beneficial trade terms.
In 2021, following the signing of a migration partnership between the UK and India, it was announced that young professionals from India would be able to apply for a two year working visa for the UK. The India Young Professional Scheme was created last year and looked similar to the Youth Mobility Scheme. Like the YMS visa, an Indian applicant would need to be between 18 and 30 and have to have £2,530 in savings to support themselves in the UK. However, Indian applicants have the added burden of needing to demonstrate that they have a qualification at bachelor’s degree level or above (Regulated Qualifications Framework level 6, 7 or 8).
We knew that only 3000 places would be available to Indian applicants and the Government has recently announced that the ballot for the first 2700 places will go live at 2.30pm on 28th February 2023. Time is short to apply, as the ballot will close two days later on 2nd March 2023 at 2.30pm. Details on how to apply can be found here.
Demand for places is likely to be high. It is important that applicants check they are eligible before applying to avoid disappointment. Applicants will be picked at random, and if they are successful, they will be contacted within two weeks and have 30 days from the date of the email to apply for their visa. Entry to the ballot is free but if successful an applicant will need to pay the visa fee of £259 and the immigration health surcharge.
With many UK companies relying on talent from India, this visa route initially looked like it could be a game changer. However, with the limit on numbers set so low it is unlikely to make a deep impact. If the visa operates successfully, then it is to be hoped that the Government allows a higher number of applicants to apply, as it does for countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. If so then this could go some way to plugging the labour shortages many industries are still experiencing.
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