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Professionals and highly skilled persons willing to migrate to Britain will have to apply for visa under the new points-based system which comes into force in India from Tuesday.


The point-based system-Tier 1 (PBS-TO), which covers highly skilled migrants, entrepreneurs, investors, and graduate students, replaces the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, the Entrepreneur and Investor schemes and the International Graduates.


The initial visa will be granted for three years as against two years under the previous systems.


India, Britain's most important market for highly skilled migrants, will be the first country where the new visa regime is being introduced from Tuesday. ''The roll-out for rest of the world will take place in summer,'' a British High Commission statement said.


The new system is expected to make the visa process easier for legitimate travellers and tough for those intending to cheat the system of immigration and ensure that unwanted outsiders do not enter Britain and settle there.


Anybody trying to cheat the system will be banned from applying for a visa for 10 years.


Under the PBS-TO, visa applicants will need sufficient points to qualify. Points are awarded for objective criteria such as qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience, the statement said.


''The new system allows those wanting to work in Britain to calculate, before they make their application, whether their points add up to entry as highly skilled worker,'' British High Commissioner to India Richard Stagg said.




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