Friday, 25 February 2011
Britain 'to grant 20,000 visas to Indian workers as part of EU trade deal'
The UK is set to welcome 20,000 extra Indian workers a year due to a secretive trade deal brokered by the European Union.
Britain will accept thousands of skilled workers in exchange for lucrative export deals, even though the public sector are cutting jobs and unemployment stands at 2.5million.
The EU India Free Trade Agreement was initiated by Former Trade Commissioner Lord Mandelson in 2007 and is expected to be signed by the middle of this year.
Under the agreement European countries will grant India between 35,000 and 50,000 visas in return for £4billion worth of trade.
However, sources have revealed that India are demanding up to 20,000 of them should be provided by the UK, with only 7,000 asked of Germany and 3,000 expected from France. Meanwhile Estonia is expected to accept just 19 individuals.
The 20,000 will not count towards the Coalition's pledge to cap net immigration at 'tens of thousands.'
The workers will be exempt from National Insurance in their first year but will be able to use the NHS.
Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of MigrationWatch UK, said: 'The secrecy surrounding this deal has gone on long enough.
'This scheme makes a nonsense of efforts to limit economic migration.'
A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, told The Sunday Telegraph: 'Strict criteria are being negotiated to ensure there is a focus on highly-skilled and highly-qualified professionals entering the UK temporarily.'
Nearly 30,000 workers came to Britain from India last year. Two thirds of them travelled as part of the intra-company transfer scheme. This is also exept from the Coalition's interim immigration cap.