UK visas relaxed for Indian IT workers

E-commerce minister Douglas Alexander has announced relaxed rules for Indian technology workers, letting them apply for two-year multiple entry visas

The UK's e-commerce minister Douglas Alexander has announced that Britain is relaxing visa restrictions for Indian IT professional who want to work in the UK.

From now on, Indian software specialists will be able to apply for two year "multiple-entry" work visas that will allow them to visit Britain as many times as they like.

Alexander revealed the change as he visited an international high-tech gathering in the Indian city of Bangalore. "Last year of the total number of foreigners to enter the UK on an IT basis, 63 percent were Indians," the minister said, according to the BBC. It is thought that a total of 11,000 Indian IT professionals were given British visas in 2000.

The e-commerce minister added that he would like to see more Indian software companies opening offices in the UK, as a way of accessing the European market. There are at least 200 Indian companies with offices in Britain, and Alexander claimed that 10 have opened so far this year.

The British government has been trying to tempt IT specialists to more to this country for some time. Last year, Patricia Hewitt -- Alexander's predecessor -- also attended the Bangalore conference, and spoke of her wish to tempt high-tech specialists to leave India for the UK.

Critics have claimed that it is wrong for the government to be putting effort into trying to attract new technology workers, when its unpopular IR35 tax is allegedly driving thousands of IT contractors to move abroad.

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