Travel News

Before You Apply For Indefinite Leave to Remain, Know These - THE AFRICAN EXPONENT

JANUARY 22, 2022

Before you apply for this program, know these things:

An Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is also common ly referred to as settlement or permanent residence. This type of settlement option is available to foreigners who desire to stay in the UK indefinitely.

An Indefinite leave to remain gives you the right to live, work and study in the UK for as long as you like. Foreigners with an Indefinite Leave to Remain status may also apply for benefits and may eventually apply for British Citizenship. However, before you apply for this program, know these things:

Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain

The specific  that applies to you depends on your particular circumstances. Perhaps the most crucial requirement is living in the UK for a certain number of years. How long this will take depend on the specific visa type, you hold.

If you’re on a Tier-1 Visa or UK work permit, for instance, you can only apply for an ILR after living in the country for five years. The same applies to applicants with a US ancestry visa as well as EU nationals and their dependents.

For someone on an Innovator or Global Talent visa, you only need three years. In contrast, those on a long residence visa can only apply after staying in the UK for ten years.

There are also some specific salary and financial requirements that must be fulfilled for each visa class before applying.

General Requirements for Eligibility

In addition to requirements that apply to specific Visa categories, there are general requirements that everyone applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain need to fulfill. These include:

No criminal record of breach of immigration laws during their stay in the UK
The total period spent outside the UK within the qualifying period must not be more than 180 days in 12 months. This means you have to keep a record of any absences from the country over the last five years.
You are expected to have a sound knowledge of life in the UK. This means you must pass the compulsory “Life in the UK Test”.
You must prove that you meet the B1 level of English proficiency based on the Common European Framework of Languages requirements.
Can You Apply For ILR If You Have A Family In The UK?

Yes, you are qualified to apply for an ILR if you have a partner, parent, child, or any other close relative that is already settled in the UK either as someone with indefinite leave to remain or a British citizen. In this case, the application method will depend on how you entered the UK and how your relative is settled.

ILR Exemptions

Not everyone needs to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain to settle in the UK. These differences in requirements for certain classes of people are the reason why people need to get help with US immigration to get them through the process.

The following categories of people are exempted from getting an ILR:

Those eligible for citizenship by descent
Child or Adult Dependent of British Citizen or someone with a settled status
Refugees that are in the UK via the Gateway Protection Program
Documents Required To Apply For ILR

If you’re applying for an ILR, you’ll be required to provide some documents to support your application. ILR lawyers can assist you with a checklist of documents to provide and guide you through your application. Some of the documents you’ll be required to provide include:

Your travel documents. This includes both your current passport and any old ones you used within the period of your stay in the UK.
Your birth certificate or adoption papers
Documents that serve as proof of your time spent outside the UK
A police registration certificate
Documents that show your immigration history
Bank statement and other documents that show your financial information
A Life in the UK test pass certificate
Pass certificate to prove B1 level of English
Two passport-sized photographs
How Much Is Needed For ILR Application and How Long Will It Take

Currently, the fee to pay for your Leave to Remain application is £2,389. There’s no specific timescale to get approval, but you should get a response about the status of your application within six months. It is also possible to have your application expedited.

For an additional £500, you can have your application processed within five working days. It is also possible to have it processed within a single working day, but this will cost an additional £800.


There are several benefits to getting your Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. Attaining this status is a significant step towards becoming a full British citizen. Applying for an ILR may be time-consuming and stressful.

You’ll find it easier to hire a professional ILR lawyer or immigration attorney to assist and guide you through the process.

U.K. Says Airlines Must Fly More, While Easing Covid Opt-Out - BLOOMBERG

JANUARY 24, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Britain will compel airlines to use a greater proportion of takeoff and landing slots this summer, while making it easier for them opt out of flights when circumstances change.

Carriers will be required to utilize 70% of airport slots or risk losing the rights, the Department for Transport said in a statement Monday. That’s below the pre-pandemic threshold of 80% but higher than required since the virus hit.

At the same time, a list of situations in which airlines can avoid using slots, such as Covid-related border curbs, will be extended and they’ll no longer be required to show that the situation was unforeseeable. That should prevent so-called ghost flights, operated empty simply to safeguard slots, the DfT said.

Seasonal slot waivers have emerged as flashpoints in the aviation industry, with airlines seeking to hang on to flying rights even as airports push to allow in new entrants. The British switch means that carriers at hubs like London Heathrow and Gatwick will have a higher slot-usage requirement than the 64% specified by the European Union, though the bloc also has get-out clauses.

“The government’s sensible decision to return discipline to the U.K.’s airport slot regulations for the summer season is very welcome and means consumers will once again benefit from a competitive aviation market, a wider choice of services and a range of airfares to suit different needs,” Stewart Wingate, the chief executive officer of Gatwick airport, said in a statement.

U.K. slot waivers were extended last summer. The requirement was upped to 50% this winter, but only after airlines were permitted to temporarily return any slots and still retain the right to pick them up the following year.

Even as the omicron variant of Covid-19 disrupts travel, airlines including discounters Ryanair Holdings Plc and Wizz Air Holdings Plc have been pushing authorities to revert to established slot rules, maintaining that it’s in the public interest to allow the strongest players to add flights.

While airports including London Gatwick have backed that stance, network carriers take a different view, arguing that they can’t be expected to bring back flights with corporate travel still in the doldrums, and that surrendering slots now would damage connectivity and business links in the future.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG said this month that it was being forced to fly planes with below break-even passenger loads just to hang on to crucial slots, causing unnecessary carbon-dioxide emissions. The EU said airlines could apply for an exemption if unable to operate a particular route.

Local airline crashes airfare on Enugu, Owerri routes - THE GUARDIAN

JANUARY 24, 2022

By Wole Oyebade

Local carrier, Dana Air, has rolled out promotional airfares for loyal business class customers and flash fares for air travellers on the Enugu and Owerri routes.

The airline offered an automatic Silver Card membership and 9000 executive miles to all its Business Class customers all through the first quarter of 2022. Customers travelling from Lagos to Owerri and Enugu will also enjoy the flash fare of N23, 400.

Chief Operating Officer of Dana Air, Obi Mbanuzuo, said the promo was to appreciate business class customers to fly more, spend less, and enjoy the benefits of the silver membership of Dana Miles.

Mbanuzuo said: “The Silver Card holders get loads of additional benefits from free tickets to more miles, more excess baggage allowance and with this additional offer of 9000 executive miles. They can get a lot of things done for free, using their Dana Miles account, which also includes paying for excess baggage for their friends and family with their miles, upgrading from economy class ticket to business class, and not leaving out huge discounts at partner stores and outlets”

He added that there are other existing promos for Dana Miles members like new members getting 9000 miles instantly.

“We have also introduced a flash fare of N23, 400 for customers travelling from Lagos to Owerri and Enugu. We did N18, 000 in December and now N23, 400, so our customers are advised to plan their trips early, and visit our website as fast as possible to get this airfare,” he enthused.

Dana Air is one of Nigeria’s leading airlines with a mixed fleet of nine aircraft and daily flights from Lagos to Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Owerri.

The airline is reputed for its innovative online products, 24 hours customer service, on-time performance, quality onboard service and schedule reliability.

Rich countries' access to foreign nurses during Omicron raises ethical concerns, group says - REUTERS

JANUARY 24, 2022

By Emma Farge

GENEVA, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The Omicron-fuelled wave of COVID-19 infections has led wealthy countries to intensify their recruitment of nurses from poorer parts of the world, worsening dire staffing shortages in overstretched workforces there, the International Council of Nurses said.

Sickness, burnout and staff departures amid surging Omicron cases have driven absentee rates to levels not yet seen during the two-year pandemic, said Howard Catton, CEO of the Geneva-based group that represents 27 million nurses and 130 national organisations.

To plug the gap, Western countries have responded by hiring army personnel as well as volunteers and retirees but many have also stepped up international recruitment as part of a trend that is worsening health inequity, he continued. read more

"We have absolutely seen an increase in international recruitment to places like the UK, Germany, Canada and the United States," Catton said in a Reuters interview based on a report he co-authored on COVID-19 and the global nursing force.

"I really fear this 'quick fix solution' – it's a bit similar to what we've been seeing with PPE (personal protective equipment) and vaccines where rich countries have used their economic might to buy and to hoard - if they do that with the nursing workforce it will just make the inequity even worse."

Even before the pandemic there was a global shortage of 6 million nurses, with nearly 90% of those shortages in low and lower-middle-income countries, according to ICN data.

Some of the recent recruits to rich countries have come from sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, and parts of the Caribbean, Catton said, saying that nurses were often motivated by higher salaries and better terms than at home.

The ICN report said this process was also being facilitated by giving nurses preferred immigration status.

"The bottom line is that some people would look at this and say this is rich countries offloading the costs of educating new nurses and health workers," he said.

Even wealthy countries will struggle to cope with the "mountains of backlog of unmet care" when the pandemic winds down, Catton warned, calling for more investment and a ten-year plan to strengthen the workforce.

"We need a coordinated, collaborative, concerted global effort which is underpinned by serious investment, not just warm words and platitudes and applause," he said.

Reporting by Emma Farge in Geneva Editing by Matthew Lewis

COVID-19 tests for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England to be scrapped, PM confirms - SKY NEWS

JANUARY 24, 2022

COVID tests for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England are being scrapped, Boris Johnson has confirmed.

It comes after the chief executives of the UK's largest airlines urged the government to end coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

The bosses pointed to evidence that the Omicron variant is in retreat, and argued that current measures have a "limited effect" in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

From Thursday, COVID passports and the mandatory wearing of face masks are being scrapped in England - and people are no longer being told to work from home.

Speaking to Sky News, the World Health Organisation's special envoy for COVID, Dr David Nabarro, described the virus as "very nasty and rather cunning" - and said it should not be treated like the flu.


Warning that coronavirus remains "very, very dangerous", he added: "It can also mutate and form variants and we've seen several but we know there are more not far away."

Coronavirus travel testing rules in England to be relaxed - BBC

JANUARY 24, 2022

Ministers are expected to approve a further relaxation of England's international travel testing rules when they meet later on Monday.

Likely changes include dropping the requirement for fully vaccinated travellers to take a lateral flow Covid test within 48 hours of arriving.

It is unclear when any changes are likely to come into force.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have previously followed England's lead, but it is for them to decide.

The move will be welcomed by the travel and tourism industry, one of the sectors most badly affected by coronavirus lockdown measures.

Research published last week by trade body Airlines UK and Manchester Airports Group said there was scientific evidence for making testing rules a "thing of the past" for fully-vaccinated travellers.

At the weekend, one of the big testing firms said Covid tests for travellers arriving in the UK should be scrapped. Simon Worrell, global medical director of Collinson - which also runs airport lounges - said: "As soon as we can drop it, we will be delighted."

And earlier this month, the boss of Heathrow Airport, John Holland-Kaye, said the aviation industry will only fully recover when all restrictions are lifted.

Currently, fully vaccinated passengers, who have had two doses, and under-18s no longer need a pre-departure test two days before travelling to the UK.

However, within 48 hours of arrival, everyone aged five and over - or 11 and over in Scotland - must take a lateral flow test (LFT), or a more expensive PCR test.

If they take an LFT and it is positive, they must self-isolate and take an NHS PCR test to confirm the result.

Vaccinated travellers also have to fill in and submit an online passenger locator form no more than 48 hours before arriving, even if they are just passing through the UK.

But Mr Worrell said: "Airport testing was only ever supposed to be a band-aid, a temporary solution to get trade and tourism staggering whilst we build up immunity and we are able to fight the virus by ourselves. We are at that point now.

"The link between getting infected and hospitalisation has been broken. We are in a fantastic place - the envy of the world, I think."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last Wednesday the government was reviewing testing arrangements for travel. He said the Health Secretary Sajid Javid would announce the outcome of the review in the coming days.

However, virologists have expressed caution. Dr Stephen Griffin, from the University of Leeds, told the BBC last week: "You have a moral responsibility to monitor and to know if you're infectious. It is a good idea to test."

Brain Drain: Over 100 medical consultants left Nigeria in the last two years – Official - PREMIUM TIMES

JANUARY 24, 2022

As of 2020, Nigeria had a doctor-patient ratio of 1:2,753, in sharp contrast to the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s minimum recommended ratio of 1:400 or 600.

By Nike Adebowale

The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has said more than 100 of its members left the country in the past 24 months.

The president of the association, Victor Makanjuola, while speaking at a briefing in Abuja on Sunday, said the medical officials left the services of 17 tertiary health institutions in the country.

Mr Makanjuola said the mass exodus of medical and dental consultants to more developed countries has brought significant disruptions to Nigeria’s health care ecosystem.


MDCAN is a group of medical specialists in different field of medicines and dentistry with the highest qualifications in medical practices.

Their responsibilities include training medical doctors, offering specialist services to patients and also conducting research in medical fields.

MDCAN has members in government and non-governmental hospitals, tertiary and secondary health facilities across the country.

Reasons for exit

Mr Makanjuola said health workers are leaving in large numbers due to poor welfare and working conditions in the country.

He said the issue of insecurity ravaging major parts of the country is contributing to the daily exit of medical practitioners from the country.

He also noted that many recent policies of government “appear to target medical professionals and their practice in Nigeria”, which he claimed adversely impact on quality of healthcare delivery in the country.

“The level of insecurity in the country has remained worrisome, making it nearly impossible to safely use certain road routes across the country.

“This is despite efforts being made by the government to address the challenges.

“The persistent attack on Medical and Dental Postgraduate Medical Fellowship and discrimination against our members have also continued unabated,” he said.

He explained that the unjustifiable attacks have the potential for disrupting medical training in universities and tertiary hospitals.

“These young people will not leave if the economy is good, the older ones will not leave if there are facilities to train with; they will not leave if their pay is reasonable and most importantly they will not leave if they are gainfully employed,” he said.

Halting slide

He said the government can improve the conditions of service of those still in the system to halt further brain drain.

“Government as a matter of urgency should put polices in place to arrest the mass exodus of highly skilled medical and dental consultants into developed countries.

“Such policies must domesticate the pull factors while minimising the push factors that encourage emigration of healthcare professionals,” he said.

Hazard allowance

Mr Makanjuola said the amount offered as hazard allowance to health workers is highly discouraging.

He noted that the recently reviewed hazard allowances by the government “is grossly inadequate to address the multiple risks faced by an average health worker in the country.”

He said the federal government’s circular is not in line with the earlier agreement reached during negotiation with representatives of various associations under the health sector.

“This further complicates the near-complete erosion of relativity in remuneration that has existed among different health workers,” he said.

Hazard allowances

The Nigerian government recently increased the hazard allowances applicable to health workers in federal government-owned healthcare facilities across the country.

The government increased the allowance for doctors from N5,000 to between N32,000 and N40,000, while other health workers are to receive between N15,000 and N34,000.

Mr Makanjuola, however, said the agreement reached with the government is between the range of N34,000 and N100,000.

Hazard allowance, a wage supplement paid to workers who do dangerous jobs, has been among key negotiation points between health workers and the government for many years.

Before the recent increment, health workers in Nigeria are entitled to only N5,000 as hazard allowances.


Mr Makanjuola said the association reached some resolutions following its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Bauchi between January 19 and 23, 2022.

He said “it’s important for the government to intensify efforts at resolving the security challenges in the country once and for all to safeguard the lives and properties of Nigerians”.

“The government needs to engage critical stakeholders when formulating policies that have direct and indirect impacts on the healthcare system in the country.

“That there is need for immediate review of the recently released circular on Hazard Allowance by the Federal Government, which was not in line with the earlier agreement reached during negotiation with our association, with the hope of reflecting the current realities and relativity of remuneration of the healthcare workers.

“The persistent attack on Medical and Dental Postgraduate Medical Fellowship and discrimination against our members would no longer be tolerated and any institutions that does such will be blacklisted,” he said.

Brain Drain

The mass exodus of health care professionals, especially doctors, pharmacists, and nurses has been a burning issue in the country.

A 2017 survey by the Nigerian Polling organisation (NOIPolls) in partnership with Nigeria Health Watch, revealed that about 88 per cent of medical doctors in Nigeria were seeking work opportunities abroad at the time.

The Saudi Arabia health ministry recently had a recruitment exercise in Nigeria where over 500 medical doctors participated.

The consequences of the continuous exodus include shortage of healthcare workers when compared to the nation’s needs and the poor ratios of healthcare workers to Nigerian patients.

As of 2020, Nigeria had a doctor-patient ratio of 1:2,753, in sharp contrast to the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s minimum recommended ratio of 1:400-600.


New Zealand to Proceed With Phased Border Reopening in February - BLOOMBERG

JANUARY 25, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand will proceed with plans to start a phased reopening of the border from the end of February even as the infectious omicron variant starts to take hold in the community.

The initial phase will allow New Zealanders living in Australia to return home and undertake self-isolation rather than a lengthy stay in a managed isolation hotel. In December, the government pushed out the original start date of Jan. 17 citing the need for more people to be boosted to combat omicron.

“We will likely confirm the specific date at cabinet in the following two weeks,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at news conference Tuesday in Wellington.  “We’ve made no decision to steer away from the guidelines we gave at the end of the year.  We know now we are dealing with omicron in the community and so no changes have been made to those settings at this stage.”

New Zealand’s border has been shut to foreigners since March 2020 but citizens and permanent residents have been able to return provided they undergo managed isolation. The government planned to progressively allow more people to self-isolate rather than stay in government-run hotels in order to open the nation to the world, including eventually letting vaccinated foreigners enter the country from April 30.

The self-isolation requirement for arrivals will be an important shield to limit new omicron cases, Ardern said. New Zealand moved to tighter Covid restrictions late Sunday as cases began appearing in the community. Ten new omicron cases were reported Tuesday taking the total to 29, but some large private events are being assessed as exposure events.

Separately, Ardern today announced fresh guidance on mask wearing including ruling out people wearing scarves, bandanas or pulled-up teeshirts rather than a dedicated face mask. Stricter requirements will be imposed on the use of masks in hospitality outlets, while customer-facing workers will need to wear medical-grade masks. 

The government is set to unveil more details of its approach to combat omicron Wednesday, including information on the use of rapid antigen testing and isolation requirements. Ardern said today that a test-for-work regime will apply for critical workers including those in the supply chain and food processing. Workers can submit a negative antigen test to be able to return to work.

Ardern reiterated the rapid tests will be free to all those who need them, but said that people who aren’t a contact of a case or who aren’t symptomatic won’t be able to simply buy a kit.

“Because rapid antigen tests can produce false positives we do want to make sure we use them in the right environments,” she said. “People testing in a widespread way for no reason is not something we want to encourage. We don’t’ want someone staying at home when they don’t need to.”

FAAN kicks as Customs comptroller breaches airport security, seizes gate forcefully - PUNCH

JANUARY 25, 2022

BY  Okechukwu Nnodim and Amarachi Orjiude

Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service have breached the security system at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria announced on Monday.

FAAN alleged that the Customs Area Comptroller for Hajj and Cargo Terminal and his officers breached the security architecture at the Lagos airport on Thursday as they assaulted Aviation Security officers on duty and forcefully took over Gate 3 of the airport.

The authority disclosed this in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Henrietta Yakubu, adding that such security breaches were becoming recurrent and must cease.

The statement read in part, “At about 17.45hrs on Thursday, January 20, 2022, while the AVSEC officers on day duty at Gate 3 were profiling a NAHCO vehicle that wanted to access the Security Restricted Area via Gate 3, the Customs Area Comptroller for Hajj and Cargo Terminal suddenly emerged and pulled off behind the NAHCO vehicle that was being attended to.

“And CSC Agunbiade, a Customs officer on the area comptroller’s entourage later shoved aside the AVSEC officer at the gate, forcefully took over the gate and opened the gate for the comptroller and his escorts to forcefully access the Security Restricted Area via the gate.”

It added, “While accessing the gate, the armed escorts to the comptroller threatened to beat up the AVSEC officers at the gate if they dare resist their assault and breach of security.

“This blatant abuse of the privilege of bearing firearms by the NCS has become a recurrent threat to the safety and security of our staff and our operations.”

FAAN stated that it would keep on working to resolve all its challenges decisively, but urged all stakeholders to respect its mandate by being disciplined and professional in the interest of national security and operational safety.

Reacting to the development, the NCS through its spokesperson, Joseph Attah, queried FAAN’s right in declaring a gate restricted from Custom personnel in a cargo airport.

Speaking in a telephone interview with The PUNCH, the Customs spokesperson said FAAN officials were exhibiting a false sense of superiority.

He said, “I have read the statement and it clearly shows that the officials are ignorant of the rules. You can’t restrict a gate to Customs in a cargo airport. What is your intention for doing that, that intention is suspicious?

“Are you creating a route for those who want to smuggle cargo out of the country? And will you also do the job of Customs at that gate?

“And instead of engaging each other to understand each other’s role, you are issuing a statement and making it public and saying we should respect your mandate.

“So I think the best thing is for the senior officials to engage each other and understand their roles instead of demonstrating this false sense of superiority.”

Attah, therefore, called for an engagement between the two bodies in order to understand their roles and prevent similar future occurrences.

'Off to Canada': India's jobs crisis exasperates its youth - REUTERS

JANUARY 25, 2022

By Krishna N. Das and Aftab Ahmed

  • Summary
  • India unemployment averaged 7.2% in 2018-2021 vs global average around 5.7>#/li###
  • India's job participation rate is low and falling
  • GDP growth providing fewer jobs than in the 1970s and 80s
  • Lack of employment opportunities a risk to PM Modi as elections loom

RAJPURA, India, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Srijan Upadhyay supplied fried snacks to small eateries and roadside stalls in the poor eastern Indian state of Bihar before COVID-19 lockdowns forced most of his customers to close down, many without paying what they owed him.

With his business crippled, the 31-year-old IT undergraduate this month travelled to Rajpura town in Punjab state to meet with consultants who promised him a work visa for Canada. He brought along his neighbour who also wants a Canadian visa because his commerce degree has not helped him get a job.

"There are not enough jobs for us here, and whenever government vacancies come up, we hear of cheating, leaking of test papers," Upadhyay said, waiting in the lounge of Blue Line consultants. "I am sure we will get a job in Canada, whatever it is initially."

India's unemployment is estimated to have exceeded the global rate in five of the last six years, data from Mumbai-based the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) and International Labour Organization show, due to an economic slowdown that was exacerbated by the pandemic.

Having peaked at 23.5% in April 2020, India's joblessness rate dropped to 7.9% last month, according to CMIE.

The rate in Canada fell to a multi-month-low of 5.9% in December, while the OECD group of mostly rich countries reported a sixth straight month of decline in October, with countries including the United States suffering labour shortages as economic activity picks up.

What's worse for India, its economic growth is producing fewer jobs than it used to, and as disheartened jobseekers instead take menial roles or look to move overseas, the country's already low rate of workforce participation - those aged 15 and above in work or looking for it - is falling.

"The situation is worse than what the unemployment rate shows," CMIE Managing Director Mahesh Vyas told Reuters. "The unemployment rate only measures the proportion who do not find jobs of those who are actively seeking jobs. The problem is the proportion seeking jobs itself is shrinking."


Critics say such hopelessness among India's youth is one of the biggest failures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who first came to power in 2014 with his as yet unfulfilled promise of creating millions of jobs.

It also risks India wasting its demographic advantage of having more than two-thirds of its 1.35 billion people of working age.

The ministries of labour and finance did not respond to requests for comment. The labour ministry's career website had more than 13 million active jobseekers as of last month, with only 220,000 vacancies.

The ministry told parliament in December that "employment generation coupled with improving employability is the priority of the government", highlighting its focus on small businesses.

Modi's rivals are now trying to tap into the crisis ahead of elections in five states, including Punjab and most populous Uttar Pradesh, in February and March.

"Because of a lack of employment opportunities here, every kid looks at Canada. Parents hope to somehow send their kids to Canada," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Admi Party is a front-runner in Punjab elections, told a recent public function there.

"I assure you, within five years they will start returning because we will create so many opportunities for them here."

He did not explain, but party workers said their policies would attract job-creating businesses.

Punjab's neighbour Haryana, home to local offices of many global IT companies and an automobiles hub, has already ordered that most jobs there be reserved for locals. A political party in Punjab has promised something similar if voted to power.

"To an extent, if a particular sector is doing well, then some arrangements can be made to ensure that local youth get opportunities," said Amit Basole, head of the Centre for Sustainable Employment in Azim Premji University in Bengaluru.

"But if overall job creation is weak, then such policies do not solve the underlying problem. And they may also make things worse by reducing investment."

CMIE's Vyas said India needs more investment in labour-intensive industries and should bring more women into the labour force, like Bangladesh has done through its garments factories.


Between 2018 and 2021, India suffered its longest period of slowdown since 1991, with unemployment averaging 7.2%, CMIE data shows. Global unemployment averaged around 5.7% in that period.

The jobs shortage is particularly problematic for a country like India where annually 12 million people reach employment age. The economy has not grown fast enough to absorb so many people, economists say.

Also, the increase in workforce for every percent rise in gross domestic product has shrunk: the economy will have to grow at 10% to raise employment by 1%, said Basole of Azim Premji University.

In the 1970s and 1980s, when GDP growth was 3% to 4%, employment grew around 2%, Basole has found.

Back in Punjab, Blue Line counsellor Lovepreet said business was booming, with his agency handling some 40 clients a day.

"I have been doing this for four years," said the 27-year-old, who gave only one name. "I am off to Canada myself, this year or next year. Politicians keep promising us government jobs, but no one delivers."

Reporting by Krishna N. Das and Aftab Ahmed; Editing by Lincoln Feast.


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