India urges the government of United Kingdom to look over some tax and visa norms, which is making trouble for Indian professionals and students to contribute totally to the bilateral relationship.

On Wednesday, at the Conservative Friends of India Annual Dinner in London, the Indian High Commissioner to UK, Ruchi Ghanashyam urges UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid to look into regulations around compulsory tax contributions needed from Indian professionals, who visits the country only for a short time and resulted in loss of millions of pounds.

Citing some new figures from Grant Thornton’s “India Meet Britain Tracker 2019”, Indian Envoy has also highlighted to an increase in the number of Indian firms operating from the UK over the past years to 842 in 2019.

She continued, “It shows the confidence that Indian business has in the UK and the positive momentum that they keep on adding to the India-UK economic relations. Here, I want to draw attention to the National Insurance (NI) exemption which for Indian nationals is 52 weeks, while for some other countries it can be three to five years.”

National Insurance is a form of contributory tax paid by the residents of United Kingdom, which eventually ensure access to a state-funded pension in life. However, she pointed out the minimum period of NI contributed to gain entitlement to a state pension is 10-years, which an employee from India on a limited-period Intra-Company Transfer Visa is unable to seek advantage of, which means loss of the entire amount paid in. the form of NI.

“An estimate puts this loss of contribution to approximately 230 million pounds for the employer and 200 million pounds for the employee,” she added.

She further raised other issues, which include the falling number of Indian students opting for UK Universities for obtaining higher education and urges the government of UK to take necessary steps to encourage those figures as students are a “great source of strength” to the bilateral relationship.

She further noted that “there are some issues because the number of students coming to the UK from India has been falling. Last year, there was a bit of an increase because the figure reached more than 19,500 but it is still way below the 40,890 in 2010-11.”

Ms. Ghanashyam spoke of the strong India-UK relationship, most recently exhibited in the blacklisting of Pak-based JeM Chief Masood Azhar by the United Nation Security Council, in which the United Kingdom “took the lead”, but she continued that she had sought the permission of the Minister to raise several issues.

Ruchi Ghanashyam also said, “Now that I have the chance, I think I would not be a good ambassador of my country if I were not to mention them…These are not big issues as such because there are a lot of positive developments happening and it is not my intention to appear to be cribbing about anything. But just to draw attention.”

The Chief Guest at CFIN event, Sajid Javid in return has welcomes Ms. Ghanashyam as the second female Indian High Commissioner to the UK, after Bijaya Lakshmi Pandit, and for her “frank” comments as he pledged to work with her over some issues.

The first Pak-origin Minister to the UK Cabinet, Mr. Javid said that “Last year, the number of Indian students choosing to come to the UK went up by 35 per cent, the biggest annual increase in over a decade. And, the UK already issues more skilled worker visas to Indian nationals than to the rest of the world combined.”

“The new (post-Brexit) immigration system will be a skills-based system, which means it will not be based on nationality. It means that we will be even more open once we have left the EU (European Union) to welcome even more of India’s brightest and best,” he added.

Mr. Javid referred to the UK-Indian Businessman Rami Ranger, the co-chairperson of CFIN, as a “success story” as he underlined the contribution of Indian diaspora to the United Kingdom, adding that the nation’s state-funded NHS (National Health Service) would fail without the contribution of around 60000 British Indians.    

The founder of London-based International Marketing and Distributing Company Sun Mark, Raminder Ranger was quoted saying, “The UK-India alliance is not only mutually beneficial but also good for the world as a whole because we share similar values as secular democracies.”

CFIN promotes closer ties between India and UK ruling Conservation Party, also introduced new sponsor at the event – Tory MPs Ian Duncan Smith, Nusrat Ghani, and Paul Scully.

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