Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Fuelling an entrepreneurial economy needs talent - so is this Government mad?

UK Government is thinking of tightening the UK visa tourist visa regime. A country that has beenopen and has stared to benefit from such opennes is thinking about joining Fortress Europe! Oh Dear!

The detail is in the text I have taken from the Beeb - but before you read this think about the following:

Prof Amartya Sen (Nobel Prize winner) was Master of Trinity College - about as Establishement as it can get - and he always had an Indian passport! Meanwhile UK welcomed Stelios and he started easyjet - so imagine if it might be even remotely possible for an English man to go start an airline in Greece or Cyprus?? Unlikely! More recently - in Cambridge - we have had people relocate from Spain, France, India and elsewhere because the atmosphere of openness and opportunity is welcoming.

By taking this action (if it eventually does) - and expecting a Minister to try and explain this to Indians in a visit in February - this is a real faux pas! It just sends out the wrong signal to the talented young people that is crucially needed by Britain.

In various demographic studies - there is clear evidence that there is going to be a workforce shortage over the next 3 - 4 decades in Europe and a surplus in India. To maintain good relations and benefit from this balancing economic need - Britain and India will have to act in mature ways. Visa and immigration rules on both sides will have to keep an eye on teh future.

Here is the announcement:

http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070036227&ch=12/18/2007%208:37:00%20PM

2 comments:

Prashant said...

As always, stirring choice for a discussion point Dr.Shai! As a budding Indian entrepreneur in the UK, one of the reasons I am comfortable setting up business here is the ease with which I can travel to this country, and also the quality of life, & opportunity that the UK offers as a "gateway to the US and Europe".

Making it harder for me and my family to travel to and from the UK would be quite a compelling reason for me to reconsider my current stance on this country. I commend the HSMP system that was developed - the suggestion the article you sent refers to though would be ridiculous.

The idea that a "cash bond" is what it will take to authenticate someone's visa application seems like it will create a larger problem with illegal immigration than solve anything. Obviously, the procedures they will have in place will be more robust than this article on NDTV suggests, but I cannot see the logic of how a "cash bond" will make it harder for illegal immigrants to make it over the borders. This goverment just seems too far removed from the root causes of any of the problems they are trying to tackle to come up with cohesive and sensible solutions.

Anyhow, i'll stop with the digression for now as there are several social & economic considerations that can be made here, which would unwittingly turn this little post into an essay! It suffices to say that the UKs measured attitude to date towards welcoming capable foreign nationals into the coutry is one of its few assets in today's global village. If it chooses to lose it, individuals like myself will think again about making the UK one of their bases.

They should contemplate ways to collabarate with capable foreign nationals, not drive them away. There seems to be a delusion that the UK still has an upper hand and the bargaining power that will make people live here despite the downfalls. Today's world comes with choice for capable, educated and driven individuals. Mr.Brown & Mr.Liam Byrne shouldnt forget that.

Meng said...

The visa problem has always been an issue, for academics, for students who wishes to stay working in the UK after their studies.
I am actually doing some work with the sector skills council to address the current problems in work permits, especially for SMEs.
I am also organising a workshop to discuss work permit related issues.
Please feel free to contact me.