Young Professionals Scheme two-year visa opens for Indian applicants

Britain’s Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) is a great opportunity for participating nationalities aged 18 to 30 to live, work and study in the UK for up to two years.

Young Professionals Scheme
As part of the free trade deal negotiations between the United Kingdom and India it was announced in January 2021 that India would join the select list of countries whose youth can apply for such a reciprocal cultural exchange programme.Finally, over two years later, details have been announced of the lottery that Indian applicants can enter this month with 2,400 winning the chance to live, work, study in the UK.Reflecting the wording of the trade agreement between the two countries, the scheme will be called the India Young Professionals Scheme visa and there will be eligibility requirements to make the scheme exclusively available to Indian nationals with a certain level of educational attainment (see below). This distinguishes the exchange programme from other Youth Mobility Schemes.As such schemes are often oversubscribed in the case of other countries, there will be a 48 window for Indian applicants to enter a ballot from 2.30pm India Standard Time on 28 February 2023 to 2.30pm India Standard Time on 2 March.

How to apply for the India Young Professionals Scheme

Applicants should check that they are eligible before entering the ballot which is free to enter. The ballot for the India Young Professionals Scheme opens from 2.30pm India Standard Time on 28 February 2023 to 2.30pm India Standard Time on 2 March, when the link to enter will appear on the UK Government’s ballot page hereUpdate 28 February 2023: According to the GOV.UK website for the Young Professionals Scheme, following "technical issues while applying for the Young Professionals Scheme" which "were due to high volumes of traffic and have now been fixed,"  the 48 hour ballot period has restarted "and will now close at 8:59pm India Standard Time on Thursday 2 March 2023." The website warns: "Don’t leave your application to the last minute. Those in the queue at the time of the ballot closing, or in the process of submitting their application at the time of the ballot closing, will not be able to apply.”Those entering will need to provide their name, date of birth, passport details, a scan or photo of their passport, a phone number and email address.Successful entries will be picked at random and will be emailed the results within two weeks of the ballot closing. They will then need to apply for the visa scheme within the deadline they are given on the online application form and to prove their identity.UK Visas and Immigration says that decisions on the visa application should be made within three weeks, though this may take longer, unless complicated by circumstances such as the need to verify documents, or an applicant’s criminal record. Once the visa is issued, there will be six months within which people should travel to the UK to take up the offer.Unsuccessful ballot entrants will be able to enter future ballots if still eligible. The next one is expected to be held in late July.

How many places will be available?

As part of a post-Brexit trade deal, Indian nationals will have 3,000 places on the scheme each year. To put this in perspective, far less populous Iceland has 1,000 places on its Youth Mobility Scheme, while San Marino, with a population of just 33,000 has 1,000 places on the scheme. This is why the India Young Professionals Scheme will be similar to other countries’ YMS, with ballots twice a year. There are 2,400 visas available in the February ballot.

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants must be:
  • an Indian national or citizen between 18 and 30 years old
  • at least 18 years old on the date they plan to travel to the UK
  • have a qualification at Bachelor’s Degree level or above (Regulated Qualifications Framework level 6, 7 or 8)
  • have £2,530 in savings to support themselves
  • not have any children under the age of 18 who they live with or are financially responsible for
  • not have already lived in the UK under such a scheme

How much does the application cost?

The ballot for the scheme is free. For those lucky enough to be chosen, the application fee for the India Young Professionals Scheme visa is £259. An Immigration Health Charge to cover healthcare by the UK’s National Health Service must also be paid with the visa application. This costs £940 and covers the two-year visa.

What does an Indian Young Professionals Scheme visa allow?

Those granted this visa can come and go and stay in the UK for up to two years (or if they turn 31 after their visa is issued, for as long as their visa is valid).The visa allows work in most jobs, and study too. Self-employment or setting up a company is allowed to - so long as premises are rented, equipment is worth no more than £5,000 and there are no employees.The India Young Professionals Scheme visa cannot be extended. Those on this visa cannot apply for public funds or benefits in the UK or add family members to their application. They cannot work as a professional sportsperson.

Which other nationalities can apply to the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme?

Nationals aged 18-30 from the following countries can apply for a similar ballot to apply for the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme
  • Hong Kong (with an SAR passport) (1,000 places in total last year)
  • Japan (1,500 places)
  • South Korea (1,000 places)
  • Taiwan (1,000 places).
Eligible 18-30 year olds can apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa without having to be picked in a ballot if they are a national of:
  • Australia (30,000 places)
  • Canada (6,000 places)
  • Monaco (1,000 places)
  • New Zealand (13,000 places)
  • San Marino (1,000 places)
  • Iceland (1,000 places)
There is no ballot or annual limits for those applying as a British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or those with British National (Overseas) status. 
Read more:CBI mission to boost UK-India trade talks

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