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India and the UK will launch the Young Professionals Scheme on 28 February

India and the UK will launch the Young Professionals Scheme next month, which will allow Indian nationals aged 18-30 with university degrees to live and work in Britain for up to two years. The program will be launched on February 28, according to a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement issued after the 15th India-UK Foreign Office (FOC) Consultations held here.

Foreign Minister Vinay Mohan Kwatra led the Indian delegation, while the British side was led by Philip Barton, Permanent Assistant Secretary of State, Commonwealth & Development Office. Barton also challenged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

Jaishankar said on Twitter after meeting Barton “We discussed our expanding bilateral relationship, including progress on our 2030 Roadmap and global issues”.

During the FOC, Barton and Kwatra appreciated the exchange of letters forming the Young Professional Scheme on the occasion of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 9 in London. The UK-India Young Professionals Scheme will offer 3,000 places a year to Indian nationals aged 18 to 30 who can come to the UK to live and work for up to two years.

The program will be reciprocal and will also allow UK professionals in the same position to participate in professional exchange by living and working in India. India has overtaken China as the biggest source country for student visas issued by the UK in the 12 months to June 2022, according to UK Home Office statistics.

The MEA statement said India and the UK share a comprehensive strategic partnership with the adoption of a 2030 roadmap for future relations. The FOC provided an opportunity to review the progress made in the implementation of Roadmap 2030 despite the constraints imposed by the Covid pandemic, he added.

The two sides discussed issues such as trade and economic cooperation, defense and security, science and technology, people-to-people relations, health and climate change. The statement said both India and the UK are working towards an early conclusion of a balanced and comprehensive India-UK Free Trade Agreement that could intensify economic engagement between the world’s fifth and sixth largest economies.

The two sides also exchanged views on regional and global issues of common concern, including Afghanistan, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, the Commonwealth and the United Nations. The UK appreciated India’s contribution to the UN Security Council 2021-2022 as a non-permanent member and reiterated its support for UNSC reforms.

Britain also appreciated India’s priorities as G20 president this year as it looked forward to its participation. The two sides agreed to maintain regular exchanges at the level of politicians and senior officials and hold the next FOC in London in 2024, the statement said.

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