Hours after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the 17th edition of the G20 Summit, Rishi Sunak, the newly appointed PM of the United Kingdom launched the new UK-India Young Professional Scheme, giving a green signal to at least 3,000 visas for Indian professionals to work in the European nation every year. Under the scheme, every year, 3,000 Indian students and employees, aged between 18 years to 30 years can live and work in the U.K. for two years. The tenants under the scheme will be applicable in India as well. 

Rishi Sunak met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the 17th edition of the G20 summit, which held on November 15 and 16 in Bali, Indonesia. This is the first meeting between the two prime ministers after Indian-origin Sunak assumed office last month. 

In a tweet, the U.K. Prime Minister's office said, “Today the UK-India Young Professionals Scheme was confirmed, offering 3,000 places to30-year-old-old degree educated Indian nationals to come to the UK to live and work for up to two years.”

With this, India has become the first country to benefit from such a scheme, the British government said. Downing Street said in a statement, “The launch of the scheme is a significant moment both for our bilateral relationship with India and the UK's wider commitment to forging stronger links with the Indo-Pacific region to strengthen both our economies."

Notably, the scheme comes at the heels of the memorandum of understanding of the UK-India Migration and Mobility Partnership, which was signed by both countries in May last year. 

UK-India Migration and Mobility Partnership

According to the MoU, the partnership is aimed at expanding economic cooperation between the two countries in the field of labour and employment. Under the partnership, the citizens of both countries are allowed to have short-stays and multiple entry visas with a longer period of validity available. Visas will be issued as soon as possible after a valid application is made. The MoU says, “The visitor category of visas allows for stays of six months on each visit with multiple entries, and validity for 6 months to ten years, according to the quality and purpose of application submitted, the duration of the planned activities and the validity of the passport.”

Moreover, any British national travelling to India, with a visa validity of up to 180 days, are not required to accomplish any registration formality on their arrival in the country. However, if the stay exceeds 180 days, prior registration will be required. 

Apart from this, the MoU also allows the promotion of opportunities for initial professional experience. It says, “The UK will promote opportunities for Indian nationals studying in the UK to remain in the UK to undertake skilled work following the successful completion of their studies.”

UK-India free trade agreement

Notably, India and the U.K. are already negotiating a free trade agreement that is likely to be closed by March 2023. There are 26 chapters under the agreement that includes goods, services, and investments in both countries and intellectual property rights. Notably, Indian investment in the UK provides support to 95,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the IP chapter of the agreement suggests that both UK and India cooperate in application procedures, obtaining and maintaining IP rights, reducing IP infringement and enforcing IP.

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