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  • New immigration regime makes the UK a bright spot for start-ups, despite political push-back on visas A Y & J Solicitors

    Published on January 28, 2022

    The UK remains a vibrant, dynamic investment and expansion opportunity for Indian start-ups, despite political concerns about immigration voiced within the British government this week.

    The optimistic forecast comes from experts at A Y J & Solicitors, the UK’s leading immigration law firm.

    On Wednesday (Jan 5) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament that relaxing immigration rules to tempt India to sign a trade deal was not an option, after Conservative Party Members of Parliament claimed the country was being ‘held to ransom’.

    Immigration remains a contentious issue within the UK’s ruling political party.

    However, the desire to forge a trade deal with India remains high within the UK political and business communities, as the nation strives to build global economic links following its departure from the European Union bloc.

    UK politicians are expected to open talks with Delhi later this month. This follows an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) signed by both nations last February which led to a boost in the number of Indian start-ups registering in the UK, as observed in a note ‘UK’s Immigration Round-up – 2021’ released by A Y J & Solicitors.

    The number of Indian companies operating in the UK grew to 850 in 2021 from 842 in 2020, according to the 8th Grant Thornton India meets Britain Tracker report, written in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

    The combined turnover of these companies rose to 50.8 billion pound (approximately Rs 5, 28,000 crore), from 41.2 billion pound in 2020 (Rs 4, 28,000 crore), the report said, adding the companies together employed 1, 16,046 people.

    A Y & J Solicitor’s note stated that the UK’s new points-based immigration system, introduced on 1st January 2021, opened up more opportunities for Indian start-ups and SMEs.

    Mr. Yash Dubal, Director of  A Y & J Solicitors said, “2021 brought advantages for Indian start-ups, which were looking at the UK to expand and invest. The new immigration system created a level-playing field for Indian businesses, putting them on par with the rest of the world, whereas previously European companies had preferential rights. Those start-ups that do establish branches and subsidiaries in the UK will now find a fair and equitable legislative environment.”

    For Indian start-ups, the Sole Representative visa had been the most viable and effective route for expanding into the UK, the note mentioned.

    Mr Dubal added: “This visa route allows a senior representative of an Indian business to locate to the UK for the purposes of establishing a satellite office, branch or subsidiary of the parent company. With more Indian start-ups establishing in the UK, there has been a corresponding increase in legal consultations on immigration and visas.”

    The UK’s SME sector, which accounts for 61% of the working population with an estimated turnover of £2.3 trillion, also showed record growth last year. The sectors recording the highest growth were tele-health services, e-commerce and online auctions, safety equipment and supplies, bicycle retail, IT and digital, renewable energy and manufacturing.

    The note also mentioned that the acute shortages of manpower in industries such as healthcare, hospitality and logistics opened up short-term visa opportunities to fill job vacancies.

    Mr Dubal added: “There has never been a better time for business owners to expand into the UK. Increased economic activity, new immigration rules and manpower shortages have created a perfect opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs. There are numerous visa options available for skilled workers, business owners and investors.”

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