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Posted at: Mar 15, 2019, 7:36 AM; last updated: Mar 15, 2019, 7:36 AM (IST)

Indians to benefit as UK lifts cap on PhD-level work visas

Indians to benefit as UK lifts  cap on PhD-level work visas
Indians form the largest chunk of highly skilled professionals in tier 2 (gen) category of work visas, accounting for 54% of such visas granted in 2018.

London, March 14

Indians are among the largest group of professionals set to benefit from a new UK government plan to remove any limit on the number of PhD-level work visas to be granted.

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond on Wednesday announced in a Budget update, referred to as the annual Spring Statement, that from later this year, all such highly-qualified roles will be exempt from any cap on the numbers that can apply and come to work in Britain.

“[A] key pillar of our plan is backing Britain to remain at the forefront of the technology revolution that is transforming our economy. And to support that ambition, from this autumn we will completely exempt PhD-level roles from the visa caps,” Hammond said.

“From Autumn 2019, PhD-level occupations will be exempt from the Tier 2 (General) cap, and at the same time the government will update the immigration rules on 180-day absences so that researchers conducting fieldwork overseas are not penalised if they apply to settle in the UK,” he said.

According to the most recent UK Home Office data, Indians marked the largest increase in the grant of tier 2 visas last year, up by 6 per cent at 3,023 more visas compared to the previous year.

The UK government’s latest PhD-level visa exemption was welcomed by UK universities, who are key employers of international researchers. “This is fantastic news for Indian researchers who would like to work in the UK, and for UK universities — who thrive on bringing together a diversity of brilliant minds from around the world," said Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, the main representative body for UK higher education institutions. — PTI

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