The UK government has recently launched a new reciprocal cultural exchange programme with India, allowing 2,400 Indian nationals aged between 18 and 30 the opportunity to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years. This exchange programme has been in the making for a long time, and many expected it to form part of the existing Youth Mobility Scheme visa route. However it has been opened up as a separate route, with some key differences with its Youth Mobility Scheme counterpart.
The first ballot for this year’s scheme opens today (28 February 2023) at 2:30pm Indian Standard time and closes at 2:30pm Indian Standard Time on 2 March 2023. If you are an Indian national or citizen who meets the eligibility criteria who wants to come to the UK under the scheme for a maximum of 2 years, you must apply via the ballot for one of the 2,400 available slots.
If you are successful in the ballot, you will receive an invitation to apply for the visa – you must ensure that the application is made by the deadline given in the invitation to apply (usually 30 days after you receive the invitation). To apply, you will need to pay the application fee of £259 in addition to the Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 for each year of the visa.
The link to enter the free online ballot is available here, where you will need to provide your personal details, together with a scan or photo of your passport. You will also need to provide certain documentation including your tuberculosis test results and a police report or clearance certificate from India.
You will then have a 6-month window to travel to the UK.
To be eligible for an Indian Young Professionals Scheme visa, you must:
Whilst in the UK, you can study, work in most jobs and be self-employed (provided your premises are rented, equipment is not worth more than £5,000 and you do not have any employees).
This is an unsponsored route allowing employers to employ Indian nationals in the UK without the strict requirements of sponsorship under the skilled worker or global business mobility routes. Employers can make use of a young and talented pool of workers bringing skills from India to the UK for up to 2 years at a time. If the business wants to continue employment beyond the initial 2 years, they may need to consider sponsorship but it is hoped that this will be a useful way of bringing much needed workers to the UK relatively quickly.
If you need help understanding the scheme and how this may be helpful to your business, we can help. Get in touch with our team of expert immigration lawyers for bespoke advice.