Indian IT Faces Restrictions Abroad

UK's various visa charges, surcharges and other costs are like a tax on doing business in the UK and amounts to protectionism.

Times of India reports that even as US visa issues haunt India's technology outsourcing industry, the UK has proposed changes to its skilled-workers visa policy that could increase costs for companies and make transfer of workers more difficult. The UK is the second-largest market for Indian IT companies and accounts for 18% of their export revenue, amounting to about $19 billion annually, according to National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom).

The UK's Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has proposed increasing the minimum salary level of IT employees entering the UK for short or long terms to £41,500, according to a report on its website. It has asked for immigration health surcharge and immigration skills charge to be levied on each employee sent to client sites in the UK, which will have a combined impact of £1,200 per applicant per year. UK PM David Cameron had tasked the MAC to review the tier-2 visa system last year as part of his pledge to cut total annual net migration from outside the EU. According to the MAC report, it is the "government's ambition to reduce annual net migration to the tens of thousands (from the current level of 336,000)." Major Indian IT companies, including Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro, make use of intra-company transfer visas, which are a part of the UK's tier-2 visas. Nasscom urged UK to reconsider the panel's proposals.

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