Brexit is a Blessing for India's Talent Pool

Posted in Google Brexit News
at 2016.11.07
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Brexit is a Blessing for India's Talent Pool

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The United Kingdom may have forfeited its negotiating clout at home and within Europe with the June 23rd referendum, but Britain’s position may prove beneficial for India.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is attending the India-UK tech summit with India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in hopes of striking a trade agreement. After all, the Leave (EU) campaign said that trading outside of the EU would be more lucrative; May needs to return with some good news on the first post-Brexit trade negotation.

Modi can take advantage in May’s interest in expanding trade between the UK and India by negotiating the goods that the EU has stricter regulations on. Since the EU requires strict labeling and other consumer protection guidelines, India can propose that the UK could be the more liberal, and therefore more attractive, alternative for India.

Modi also understands that while May has promised to decrease net migration to the UK, her pledge is simply not feasible given the UK’s growing demand for skilled workers. The gap can be filled with highly-educated Indians to fill the talent gap that will not be addressed by UK citizens alone. However, May has already rejected a proposal to liberalize the visa system for Indian applicants. Her decision undercuts a principal aim of Modi’s government.

May pointed out that “nine out of 10 visa applications from India are already accepted” and was quick to add that the UK will make it easier for wealthy Indian business and citizens to be in the UK. The Great Club, a special service for those particular individuals, will make the application process fluid. But for employers in the UK, looking to India to fill premium roles within the UK workforce is becoming an attractive solution in the wake of Brexit’s “brain drain”. Creating an immigration program that only enrolls the wealthy does not offer a scalable solution to finding qualified plumbers, engineers, and builders.

Major companies have voiced their rapidly-growing skills shortage and its detrimental cost to the health of the UK economy. The construction industry, for example, desperately needs tradesmen and engineers. It’s a pressing need when an industry that comprises 7 percent of the GDP is experiencing a talent squeeze. Indian graduates could be a viable solution to the shrinking talent pool as work continues to grow.

According to a country wide survey by National Employability Report 2015, India has 4298 engineering colleges, the amount having significantly multiplied in the past few years. An engineering degree remains the go-to degree in the education system that graduates more than 600,000 engineering students. With industries like the UK’s construction sector needing educated engineers, the UK could create a program that allows companies to recruit and train Indians for industry-specific skill sets.

Indians have been curious how the UK’s relationship with the EU will assemble in the coming years. Setting up a work-and-train exchange program would pain a clearer picture about how close the UK wishes to draw to India for economic partnership. There are doubts about how beneficial it is to talk about negotiation deals until the UK withdraws from the EU in 2019. Therefore, May must be swift in securing deals with both EU and non-EU countries given the extensive time line it takes to enact procedures. For India, Brexit could be the biggest blessing in disguise, giving the government an upper hand in negotiating bilateral trade agreements and increasing global prospects for its skilled workers.

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Published at Mon, 07 Nov 2016 16:15:53 +0000

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