Non-EU Tier 2 visa holders start 'Stop 35K' campaign
Many Indians and those from outside EU have started a campaign called 'Stop 35K'. The campaign is a protest against the UK government's discriminatory revision to the criteria for non-EU nationals seeking "Indefinite Leave to Remain" (ILR) in the UK after 5-years of residing and working there. According to the new rule, those Tier 2 visa holders earning less than £35,000 will face deportation.
UK changed Tier 2 visa norms
The UK government introduced new visa-norms which would come into effect from 6 April 2016. According to the new rule, people working and living in the UK on a Tier-2 visa earning less than £35,000 a year would have to leave the country after 5 years of their stay. The norms would hurt Indian professionals the most (largest category of individuals issued such visas).
Previous Tier 2 visa specifications
Previously, a Tier-2 visa holder could "apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK with an annual income of around 21,000 pounds."
Reason for the change and long-lasting effects
The Home Office claimed that the new visa guidelines will "break the link between work and staying in the UK permanently" and boost employment for UK workers. The Migration Advisory Committee, however, claimed that this measure will "cost the UK £761 million" in the next 10 years. Moreover, the order will increase the cost of healthcare, education and business start-ups in the UK.
Indians complain against the discriminatory norms
Several Indians and South Asians called the new Tier 2 Visa norms discriminatory and 'unrealistic'. A potential 40,000 skilled workers- teachers, IT professionals, health sector workers and charity workers would be affected by the new norms. A signature campaign against the norm (witb 100,000 signatures) led to the issue being taken up for discussion in the House of Commons.
Modi voices visa concerns with Cameron
PM Modi concerned by the UK visa move, raised the issue with the British PM Cameron. Meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, Modi said skilled IT professionals from India "should not find it difficult to come to work in the UK." Cameron said UK didn't want to handicap bonafide IT companies and yet wanted to ensure that the system wasn't misused.