By: Shubham Ghosh
THERE are 2,400 visas available for eligible Indians under the UK-India Young Professional Scheme in the first ballot to open at the end of this month, the UK government announced on Tuesday (21).
The scheme, formally launched last month, allows Indian citizens between 18 and 30 years old to live and work in the UK for up to two years.
“This is an excellent opportunity for India’s brightest young people between the ages of 18-30 to experience the best of the UK,” said the British High Commission in New Delhi as it released the detailed eligibility criteria for the new scheme.
Under the reciprocal arrangement signed off by prime ministers Narendra Modi and Rishi Sunak at the G20 summit in Indonesia last November, British nationals would also be offered similar visas to live and work in India.
“You must be selected in the India Young Professionals Scheme ballot before you can apply for this visa. To enter the ballot you must declare that you’re eligible for the visa – check if you’re eligible before you enter,” the British government announcement read.
The first ballot, which is free to enter, opens on February 28 afternoon and closes on March 2.
Successful candidates in the ballot need to apply for their visa by the deadline given in a subsequent invitation to apply, which is usually within 30 days.
The successful candidate must travel to the UK within six months of applying for their visa.
The application fee charges have been set at £259; there is also a £940 healthcare surcharge and proof that the applicant has £2,530 in personal savings.
“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,” the eligibility criteria stated.
Unsuccessful candidates can apply for future ballots, with the next tentatively scheduled for July.
The High Commission of India in London will be handling the ballots and visas on the UK end of the scheme, for British citizens keen to access the new route to apply for a two-year Indian visa.
The launch of the UK-India Young Professionals Scheme was dubbed a “significant moment” for the bilateral relationship and the UK’s wider commitment to forging stronger links with the Indo-Pacific region to strengthen both Indian and British economies. It was also seen as an effort to propel the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, which are now set to enter the eighth round of talks next month.
“I know first-hand the incredible value of the deep cultural and historic ties we have with India. I am pleased that even more of India’s brightest young people will now have the opportunity to experience all that life in the UK has to offer – and vice-versa – making our economies and societies richer,” said Sunak, as he green-lit the scheme in November la