Reminder for Youth mobility visa – India nationals

This year, in September 2021, the Home Office announced that Iceland and the Republic of India have been added to the list of countries whose citizens can apply for the Youth Mobility visa to the UK.

The Youth Mobility visa allows the visa holders to live and work or study in the UK for two years. Once in the UK, the YM visa holders can also switch to other types of visas, for example Skilled worker visa (more info about Skilled worker visa here). The Youth Mobility visa is relatively inexpensive comparing to most other visa types. The costs are the 244 GBP application fee and 940 GBP NHS Surcharge (more information about NHS surcharge here). There are, however, eligibility requirements that applicants must meet and for the applicants from India the UK Home Office imposed some extra requirements.

The applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old, have £2,530 available funds, and must not have any children who live with them or who are financially dependent on them. If the applicant has a spouse, the spouse has to qualify for UK visa in their own right (i.e. not relying on the Youth Mobility visa holder). In addition, Indian nationals must either have a qualification equal to RQF Level 6 (i.e. Bachelor degree) or above, OR have 3 years’ work experience in a professional role equivalent to an eligible profession specified in Appendix Skilled Occupations.

India and Iceland added to the scheme from 2022

There are several countries on the list of Youth Mobility scheme. The recent additions, starting from January 2022 are Iceland and India. That means the applicants from India will be allowed to obtain the visa very soon in 2022.

The important aspect of the whole process is the allocation of places for each participating country. The available places are limited, depending on the country of origin of the applicant. By far the biggest annual allocations of places are given to Australia, New Zealand and Canada at 30,000 then 13,000 and 6000 places respectively.

youth mobility visa for Indian nationals

The ballot for youth mobility visa for Indian nationals

The two recently added countries, Iceland and India, have been allocated 1,000 places and 3,000 places respectively. When you look at the size of each country’s population the number of places given to each of them seems illogical. The 1,000 places for Iceland seem fair and most probably will allow all or majority of the prospective applicants to obtain the visa. On the other hand, in the case of India, the allocation is surprisingly low. Home Office acknowledges that the allocation is likely to be oversubscribed and for this reason, as the first step in the process, it organizes a ballot for Indian applicants who wish to apply for the visa.

The first annual ballot for Indian nationals is to take place in the coming January 2022, where prospective Youth Mobility visa applicants from India can try their chances in a lottery like contest. We expect the ballot will be heavily oversubscribed for the 3000 places.

What is the purpose of the youth mobility visa scheme

The question is what the Home Office wants to achieve with the scheme offering only 3000 visas for Indian nationals. The immediate initial impact on the applicants from India is the random nature of the process. It is difficult to plan adequately when it all depends on something so random and outside of individual’s control as the ballot for Youth Mobility visa UK. Applicants from India are at a relative disadvantage when compared to citizens of most other participating countries. The question is where is the sense of fairness in the scheme.

First ballot for Indian nationals is fast approaching

Nevertheless, the time for the first ballot, January 2022, is fast approaching, and anyone in India who is planning to apply for the Youth Mobility visa should start preparations. In January 2022 Indian applicants will have to send an ‘expression of interest’ by email to the Home Office and keep their fingers crossed.

It is difficult to understand what is the goal the Home Office wants to achieve as the 3000 available visas do not allow the UK to attract the brightest or most suitable candidates just the luckiest ones.

However, it is still, a great opportunity for the few who manage to get those relatively cheap (in terms of the visa fees) UK visas. More information about the scheme can be found on the Home Office website.

In any case it is always advisable to seek professional help from an experienced immigration lawyer for help with the application. There are parts of the application process that ca be tricky to somene not familiar with the Home Office procedures and approach to visa processing.

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