UK opens second ballot for Young Professionals Scheme visas for Indians

London: The British government on Tuesday opened its second ballot under the UK-India Young Professional Scheme for Indians aged between 18 and 30 years with graduate-level qualifications for visas to the UK.

The ballot, which closes on July 27, offers eligible young Indians the opportunity to live, work or study in the UK for up to two years.

“The second ballot of the Young Professionals Scheme is now OPEN,” the British High Commission in New Delhi tweeted.

“If you are an Indian national between 18-30 years of age with a graduate or postgraduate qualification, consider applying for the India Young Professionals Scheme visa. Ballot closes at 1.30 pm on July 27,” it said.

There are a total of 3,000 places available under the scheme for the year 2023 and UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) said that most places were given in the first ballot which took place in February. The remaining places will be chosen at random from this month’s ballot.

While it’s free to enter the ballot, applicants are told they must only enter if they plan to apply for the visa, which costs 259 pound, and are able to meet the financial, educational and other requirements.

Additional costs involved include a 940 pound healthcare surcharge and proof that the applicant has 2,530 pounds in personal savings.

Under the reciprocal arrangement signed off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart, Rishi Sunak, at the G20 summit in Indonesia last November, British nationals would also be offered similar visas to live and work in India.

The launch of the UK-India Young Professionals Scheme was dubbed a “significant moment” for the bilateral relationship and the UK’s wider commitment to forging stronger links with the Indo-Pacific region to strengthen both Indian and British economies.

It was also seen as an effort to propel the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, which completed 11 rounds of talks this month.

“I know first-hand the incredible value of the deep cultural and historic ties we have with India. I am pleased that even more of India’s brightest young people will now have the opportunity to experience all that life in the UK has to offer – and vice-versa – making our economies and societies richer,” said Sunak, as he green-lit the scheme in November 2022.