UK and India sign new
landmark migration
agreement

On 4 May 2021, the UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel and India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar signed a new landmark agreement which will introduce enhanced arrangements on mobility and migration between the two countries.

The Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement aims to facilitate a new cultural exchange programme to allow young British and Indian nationals to work and live in each other’s countries for up to two years, whilst simultaneously accelerating the removal of illegal migrants.

The historic agreement follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s previous pledge to deliver a ‘quantum leap’ in the UK-India relationship, with both countries now committing to work together to tackle a wide range of immigration and homeland security issues for the first time.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I am committed to delivering for the British public a fair but firm New Plan for Immigration that will attract the best and brightest talent to UK through our new points-based immigration system, whilst clamping down on those who are abusing the system. This ground-breaking new agreement with India is an important milestone in delivering on this pledge.

This landmark agreement with our close partners in the Government of India will provide new opportunities to thousands of young people in the UK and India seeking to live, work and experience each other’s cultures. This agreement will also ensure that the British Government can remove those with no right to be in UK more easily and crackdown on those abusing our system.”

The Young Professionals Scheme

As part of the agreement, the UK and India will open the Young Professionals Scheme, a new cultural exchange programme between the two countries. This new bespoke immigration route will allow young professional Indian and British citizens aged 18-30 to live and work in the other country for up to two years.

Young people applying to the scheme must have at least three years’ higher education or professional experience relevant to their work, and must be able to ‘express themselves’ in the language(s) of the host country. The scheme will be open to a maximum of 3,000 people from each country per year, although this limit may be reviewed in the future. The date on which the scheme will open is yet to be confirmed.

The Young Professionals Scheme will work similarly to the Youth Mobility Scheme currently offered to young people from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, San Marino and Taiwan.

Clamping down on illegal migration

Echoing the UK government’s pledge to introduce a ‘fair but firm’ immigration system, the new agreement also aims to prevent abuse of the system and will give the UK greater scope to tackle long-standing issues of illegal migration from India to the UK.

The deal will enhance and accelerate the processes to identify and return Indian nationals with no legal right to stay in the UK, and vice versa.

Expert advice on UK-India migration

Smith Stone Walters anticipates the release of further details from the Home Office on the partnership agreement and we will provide an update in due course.

If you are applying for a UK visa from India and require support with the process, Smith Stone Walters can help. Our team of immigration consultants based at our Mumbai and London offices are on hand to provide practical advice and support with your initial application right through to post-arrival assistance.

To find out how we can help, please contact us today.

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