London: The Indian High Commission here opened its visa application process for UK nationals to apply for the new Young Professionals Scheme (YPS) on Tuesday, to coincide with the ballot opened by the British High Commission in New Delhi for Indian graduates.
Under the reciprocal scheme signed off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart, Rishi Sunak, at the G20 summit in Indonesia last November, Indian and British nationals aged between 18 and 30 can apply to live and work in either country for a period of up to two years. There are certain set criteria for applicants applying for a visa under the scheme, including a graduate degree and sufficient funds to support their stay.
“Under the Young Professionals Scheme, announced about a month ago, young citizens of India and the UK can visit each other for up to two years at a time,” said Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami, announcing the scheme’s launch on Twitter.
“I am pleased to be able to tell you that the scheme goes live from February 28. We will be launching this simultaneously in Delhi and in London, respectively for Indians to come to the UK and British citizens to go to India,” he said.
The Indian High Commission’s website has been updated with details for applicants, at a fee set at 720 pounds. The application is to be made under the E-1 Visa through the VFS Global visa service provider, indicating the purpose as “application under the India-UK YPS programme”.
Each applicant would be required to show funds equivalent to INR 2,50,000 held for a minimum period of 30 days at the time of submission of the application.
According to the Indian High Commission website, successful applicants can undertake employment as an “incidental part” of their stay, with certain sectors not covered within the scheme such as defence, telecom, space tech, strategic infrastructure projects, civil aviation, human rights, nuclear energy and environment-related projects. Those arriving in India on the new visa would also be required to register with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office/ Foreign Registration Office (FRRO/FRO).
It comes as the British High Commission in New Delhi opened its ballot for the first set of 2,400 visas available to eligible Indians under the reciprocal scheme. The ballot, which is free to enter, opens on Tuesday 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 the visa.
The application fee charges have been set at 259 pounds and additional costs involved include a 940 pounds healthcare surcharge and proof that the applicant has 2,530 pounds in personal savings.
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.