India Young Professionals
Scheme ballot opens
23 February 2023
The UK government has launched a new immigration scheme which will offer Indian citizens aged between 18 and 30 the opportunity to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years.
The India Young Professionals Scheme is a reciprocal cultural exchange programme similar to the existing Youth Mobility Scheme. Unlike the Youth Mobility Scheme, which has no qualification requirements, the India Young Professionals Scheme requires applicants to hold a qualification at bachelor’s degree level or above, or an equivalent overseas qualification at degree level or above.
‘Invitation to apply’ arrangements are in place for the new scheme, which means hopeful applicants must be selected in a ballot before they can apply for their visa. The first ballot for the 2023 India Young Professionals Scheme is set to open on 28 Feburary, with 2,400 visas available.
Below, we outline the eligibility criteria, application process and permitted activities under the India Young Professionals Scheme visa.
To be eligible for an India Young Professionals Scheme visa you must:
- Be an Indian national or citizen between 18 and 30 years old.
- Have a qualification at bachelor’s degree level or above (RQF level 6, 7 or 8).
- Have at least £2,530 in savings to support yourself in the UK.
- Not have any children under the age of 18 who live with you or who you’re financially responsible for.
The India Young Professionals Scheme ballot system
The first ballot for this year’s India Young Professionals Scheme will open at 2:30pm India Standard Time on 28 February 2023, and close at 2:30pm India Standard Time on 2 March.
You can enter the ballot if you are an Indian citizen and you meet the above eligibility requirements for the India Young Professionals Scheme. If you’re successful in the ballot, you’ll receive an invitation to apply for the visa.
The link to enter the free online ballot will appear here once it is live. You can enter the ballot at any time whilst it is open. You will need to provide your:
- Date of birth
- Passport details
- A scan or photo of your passport
- Phone number
- Email address.
Successful entries will be picked at random and notified by email within 2 weeks of the ballot closing.
If you are unsuccessful in the February ballot, you can enter future ballots if you meet the requirements. The next ballot is likely to be held in late July.
Visa application process
If you’re successful in the ballot you’ll need to apply online for your visa by the deadline given in your invitation to apply. This is usually 30 days after you get the invitation. You must travel to the UK within 6 months of applying for your visa.
It costs £259 to apply for an India Young Professionals visa, and applicants will also need to pay a £940 Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
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 centre – 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 will also need to provide certain documents to support your application, including:
- A valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
- Evidence that you have at least £2,530 in your bank account, for example bank statements
- Evidence of your qualifications
- Your tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re living in India or another listed country
- A police report or clearance certificate from India
Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.
If your visa application is successful, you’ll be given a visa to live and work in the UK for up to 24 months. You can enter the UK at any time while your visa is valid, and leave and come back at any time during your stay.
Whilst in the UK on an India Young Professionals Scheme visa, you can:
- Work in most jobs
- Be self-employed and set up a company – as long as your premises are rented, your equipment is not worth more than £5,000 and you do not have any employees
- Extend your stay
- Apply for most benefits (public funds)
- Include family members on your application – they must apply separately
- Work as a professional sportsperson (for example as a coach).
Keep up to date with UK immigration
More information on the India Young Professionals Scheme visa, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, can be found here.
If you want to keep up to date with the latest news in UK immigration, you can sign up to Smith Stone Walters’ free Immigration News Service here.