India and the United Kingdom will launch the Young Professionals Scheme next month that will allow degree-holding Indian nationals in the age group 18-30 years to live and work in Britain for up to two years.
The scheme would be launched on February 28, according to a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement issued after the 15th India-UK Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) held here.
Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra led the Indian delegation while the British side was helmed by Philip Barton, Permanent Under-Secretary, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Barton also called on External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
“Discussed our expanding bilateral relationship, including progress under our Roadmap 2030 and global issues,” Jaishankar said on Twitter after meeting Barton.
According to a UK government statement, Barton said, “Through our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the UK and India are together playing a key role in tackling the biggest challenges facing the world today, including food and energy security, economic recovery post-COVID, and preventing future pandemics.”
He also said the UK and India are increasingly working together multilaterally, including with the World Health Organisation and the international community on potential malaria and ebola vaccines.
“I was pleased to hear from Foreign Secretary Kwatra about India’s ambitious plans for its G20 Presidency. India is at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region, where half the world’s people live and 50% of global economic growth is produced.”
He added that the UK is committed to working closely with India in making its presidency a success.
During the FOC, Barton and Kwatra appreciated that letters formalising the Young Professional Scheme were exchanged on the occasion of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 9 in London.
The UK-India Young Professionals Scheme will offer 3,000 places annually to 18 to 30 years old degree-educated Indian nationals to come to the UK to live and work for up to two years.
The programme will be reciprocal, also allowing UK professionals in the same position to participate in a professional exchange by living and working in India.
India overtook China as the largest source country for student visas issued by the UK in the 12 months ending June 2022, according to UK Home Office statistics.
The MEA statement said India and the UK share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, with the adoption of Roadmap 2030 for Future Relations.
The FOC provided an opportunity to review the progress made in the implementation of Roadmap 2030 despite the restrictions imposed by the COVID pandemic, it added.
Both sides discussed issues like trade and economic cooperation, defence and security, science and technology, people-to-people relationship, health and climate change, the statement said.
The statement said both India and the UK aspire for early conclusion of a balanced and comprehensive India-UK FTA that may intensify the economic engagement between the fifth and the sixth biggest global economies.
The two sides also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest, including Afghanistan, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, Commonwealth, and United Nations, it said.
The UK appreciated India’s contribution at the UN Security Council in 2021-22 as a non-permanent member and reiterated its support for UNSC reforms.
Both sides agreed to maintain regular exchanges at political and senior official levels and hold the next FOC in London in 2024, the statement said.
Edited by Teja Lele