Thousands of highly skilled Indian professionals will not be able to take up jobs in Britain after the David Cameron government on Monday announced a limit of 24,100 for non-European Union professionals to be allowed until April 2011.
Once the limit of 24,100 is reached, no other Indian or other non-EU professional will be able to take up jobs in Britain.
The controversial annual limit was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May today.
The annual limit is part of the agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrats parties, but is likely to be opposed by influential groups such as the High Skilled Migrants Forum.
Indian professionals are among the highest non-EU groups who migrate to Britain to take up jobs in IT, medicine, services and education sectors.
The limit is part of the coalition government's promise to curb immigration to the levels of the 1990s: 'to tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands'.
"Introducing a limit on migrants from outside Europe coming here to work is just one of the ways the government intends to achieve this," an official spokesman said.
Details of how the final limit will be delivered will be agreed following a 12-week consultation with trade and industry.
In the meantime, an interim limit will be introduced to ensure there is no rush of applications and the number of work visas issued stays below 2009 levels, he said.
The results of the consultation on the permanent limit will pave the way for fundamental changes to the way in which workers from outside the EU will be chosen to come and work in the UK.
The home secretary also asked the Migration Advisory Committee, the Government's independent adviser on migration issues, to launch a separate consultation into what level the limit should be set at, taking into account social and economic impacts.
"This government believes that Britain can benefit from migration but not uncontrolled migration," May said, adding "I recognise the importance of attracting the brightest and the best to ensure strong economic growth, but unlimited migration places unacceptable pressure on public services".
She underlined the need to have an interim measure to avoid a rush of applications for migrants.
"While we consult on our tough new limit it's important we have an interim measure to avoid a rush of applications for migrants and ensure that the number of work visas issued stays below 2009 levels," May said. Permanent limits on non-EU economic migration routes will be put in place by 1 April 2011.