British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will announce a new “partnership” with India on Wednesday, at the G20 summit in Bali, Downing Street has announced. Under the U.K.-India Young Professionals Scheme, the U.K. will offer, annually, 3,000 degree-holding Indians in the 18–30-year age group places to work in the U.K. for up to two years. The scheme will commence in early 2023 and be on a reciprocal basis.
“I know first-hand the incredible value of the deep cultural and historic ties we have with India,” Mr. Sunak said in a statement. “I am pleased that even more of India’s brightest young people will now have the opportunity to experience all that life in the U.K. has to offer, and vice-versa— making our economies and societies richer,” he said.
Mr. Sunak had spoken in the summer during his campaign to be Prime Minister about having a reciprocal exchange with India.
“The U.K. has more links with India than almost any country in the Indo-Pacific region,” a press note from Downing Street said, with Indians comprising almost a quarter of all international students in the U.K. and Indian investment in the U.K. supporting 95,000 jobs in the country. The U.K. government called the launch of the program a “significant moment” for the U.K.-India relationship but also the U.K.’s links to the Indo Pacific.
The Indo Pacific was “teeming with dynamic and fast-growing economies” Mr. Sunak said.
Talks on finalizing a trade deal between the countries are still underway and the prospect of them concluding before a Deepavali deadline was diminished in part due to comments by British Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who had said Indians were the largest group of visa over-stayers in Britain.
“In parallel to the mobility partnership with India, we are also strengthening our ability to remove immigration offenders,” the Downing Street statement said, citing the May 2021 MoU on the mobility and migration partnership which deals with returning visa over-stayers to their home countries.