London, Jan 23 The British government should relax visa regulations for highly skilled workers from India and other countries outside Europe, who face joblessness or cuts in salaries because of the credit crunch, a lobby group said Friday.
The Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP) Forum said in a statement that visa extension rules that require evidence of high salaries or incomes from doctors, engineers and other professionals were unrealistic in the current economic climate.
With companies going into liquidation and reports of a difficult economic climate ahead, "migrants from outside the European region are the first to face salary cuts and redundancies", the forum said.
Forum executive director Amit Kapadia said skilled non-European migrants who are in Britain under a Points Based System "are finding it extremely difficult to obtain their further extensions due to the present stringent rules, which do not take into consideration the current economic downturn".
The majority of such migrants are from India.
"To avoid further penalising the migrants, it will be only fair if those immigration rules are somewhat relaxed by acknowledging the difficulties that migrants are undergoing in the present economic climate," Kapadia said.
"The credit crunch affects everyone from natural born citizen to immigrant," he added.