Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart, Theresa May, at 10 Downing Street in London, April 18, 2018(REUTERS)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart, Theresa May, at 10 Downing Street in London, April 18, 2018(REUTERS)

UK student visas: A tough challenge for India-Britain relations

It may well be the case that one government department (Home Office) does not know what the other is projecting (an unabashed woo-India policy on trade), but if the Conservative government is to realise its dream of a ‘global Britain’ after Brexit, it needs some joined-up thinking in Whitehall and Westminster.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JUN 20, 2018 07:27 AM IST

Britain’s Home Office — one of the top four offices of state — is considered the graveyard of several political careers, but when Sajid Javid, son of immigrants, was appointed the home secretary in April, there was much excitement and hope of change. To his credit, he has tried to distance himself from the set of policies put in place by his predecessor in the Home Office, Theresa May, who wanted to generate “a hostile environment” on immigration. But last Friday’s changes to visa rules have added to the tensions, already beset by a web of visa-related issues, between New Delhi and London. Including China, and not India, in the list of countries whose citizens are allowed less rigorous visa applications has caused consternation.

British ministers have often tried to explain away the more than 50% drop since 2010 in the number of Indian students going to study there to what they call “a perception issue”. Days before last week’s changes, Mr Javid himself attributed the row over international students to the same thing. The home office’s exclusion of India from the list of countries which are not required to undergo tough visa applications has been described as an insult at a time when the May government cannot stop itself from repeating that India is crucial to the UK’s economic future after it leaves the European Union in March 2019. India has already made it clear that freedom of movement of professionals and students would be a key issue in talks for a post-Brexit free trade pact. Ironically, it was Mr Javid who, as the culture secretary in 2015, had called for London jettisoning “outdated perceptions” about India.

India, and Indian students, have moved on. If fewer Indian students consider Britain as the first-choice destination for higher studies, the latest changes are likely to add to the perception that the country is no longer a welcoming place; Canada, Australia, the US and even some European countries are seen as more welcoming. Indian students, officials and even British universities have often complained about the arduous visa application process and post-study rules. Students are part of the complex visa-related web currently at the top of the India-UK relationship, reflected in the April visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who refused to sign an MoU on the return of illegal migrants unless London extends to Indians the easier, cheaper and longer visa that London extends to Chinese citizens. The latest changes will harden postures in New Delhi. It may well be the case that one government department (Home Office) does not know what the other is projecting (an unabashed woo-India policy on trade), but if the Conservative government is to realise its dream of a ‘global Britain’ after Brexit, it needs some joined-up thinking in Whitehall and Westminster.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Farm unions have not responded to the government’s offer to amend the laws, or to the Supreme Court’s directive to cooperate with a committee meant to examine the issue in detail (PTI)
Farm unions have not responded to the government’s offer to amend the laws, or to the Supreme Court’s directive to cooperate with a committee meant to examine the issue in detail (PTI)

Don’t let challenges turn intractable | HT Editorial

UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 06:20 AM IST
Both the China ingression and the stance of the farm unions are disparate issues, born out of their own specific histories
Close
According to a news report, US President-elect Joe Biden has appointed at least 20 Indian-Americans, with 17 of them in White House positions — 13 of the 20 also happen to be women. (AFP)
According to a news report, US President-elect Joe Biden has appointed at least 20 Indian-Americans, with 17 of them in White House positions — 13 of the 20 also happen to be women. (AFP)

Under Biden, the rise of Indian-Americans

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 07:16 PM IST
India would do well to cultivate them, as it would cultivate any US official at high levels, but respect their identity beyond their Indian roots.
Close
A health worker carries a carton containing vaccines during the delivery of the first consignment of 1,000 vials of Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN, Jaipur, January 13, 2021 (Himanshu Vyas/ Hindustan Times)
A health worker carries a carton containing vaccines during the delivery of the first consignment of 1,000 vials of Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN, Jaipur, January 13, 2021 (Himanshu Vyas/ Hindustan Times)

And the vaccine is here

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 07:46 PM IST
When India begins its coronavirus vaccination drive on Saturday, it will start with some of the biggest numbers: 300,000 potential recipients, 3,006 centres, and over 16 million doses already at hand
Close
Prime Minister KP Oli’s unconstitutional move to dissolve Parliament (the new Nepali Constitution does not give the PM the right to do so) has led to a de facto split in the Nepal Communist Party (NCP). (Getty Images)
Prime Minister KP Oli’s unconstitutional move to dissolve Parliament (the new Nepali Constitution does not give the PM the right to do so) has led to a de facto split in the Nepal Communist Party (NCP). (Getty Images)

Delhi’s balancing act with Nepal | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 08:37 AM IST
Nepal’s foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali is in Delhi for a bilateral meeting
Close
The ruling puts the provisions of SMA on a par with personal laws which require no notice period (PTI)
The ruling puts the provisions of SMA on a par with personal laws which require no notice period (PTI)

Upholding the right to liberty and privacy | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 08:37 AM IST
The Allahabad High Court has upheld the fundamental right to liberty and privacy with its ruling that a 30-day notice is not mandatory for those seeking to get married under the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954
Close
WhatsApp, the most popular mobile communication tool in the world, is going to great lengths to explain that its new use policy does not jeopardise the privacy of its users by sending additional data to its parent company, Facebook. (REUTERS)
WhatsApp, the most popular mobile communication tool in the world, is going to great lengths to explain that its new use policy does not jeopardise the privacy of its users by sending additional data to its parent company, Facebook. (REUTERS)

To big tech, India must send a message

UPDATED ON JAN 13, 2021 10:35 PM IST
WhatsApp’s new policy is now a strong reminder of why India must expedite work on its own data protection law so that Indians have a right to say to big tech — “We don’t agree”.
Close
A man holds the flags of India and the US while people take part in the 35th India Day Parade, New York, August 16, 2015 (REUTERS)
A man holds the flags of India and the US while people take part in the 35th India Day Parade, New York, August 16, 2015 (REUTERS)

Widening strategic trust

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 13, 2021 11:14 PM IST
Much of the recent history of the relationship between India and the United States has revolved around creating strategic trust between the two countries
Close
The Narendra Modi government has, to its credit, also unleashed important second-generation reforms in critical sectors such as labour and agriculture during the pandemic(PTI)
The Narendra Modi government has, to its credit, also unleashed important second-generation reforms in critical sectors such as labour and agriculture during the pandemic(PTI)

The economy is looking up | HT Editorial

By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JAN 08, 2021 08:01 PM IST
Focus on public spending, demand, and helping the informal sector
Close
US President Donald Trump speaks in Washington, January 6, 2021(REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump speaks in Washington, January 6, 2021(REUTERS)

The destructive legacy of Donald Trump | HT Editorial

UPDATED ON JAN 07, 2021 07:40 PM IST
The US has witnessed one of the darkest days in its history. Hold the president accountable
Close
A farmer sitting during an ongoing protest against the new farm laws, Singhu border, New Delhi, January 7, 2020(ANI)
A farmer sitting during an ongoing protest against the new farm laws, Singhu border, New Delhi, January 7, 2020(ANI)

Farm unions must be flexible | HT Editorial

UPDATED ON JAN 07, 2021 07:39 PM IST
The government has been open. It is time for farm leaders to reciprocate
Close
Mr Mukherjee, a long-term parliamentarian, noted the trend of parliamentary disruptions and wrote how “appalled” he was with the “callousness” with which disruptions were used(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Mr Mukherjee, a long-term parliamentarian, noted the trend of parliamentary disruptions and wrote how “appalled” he was with the “callousness” with which disruptions were used(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Chronicling the role of institutions | HT Editorial

By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON JAN 06, 2021 08:21 PM IST
Pranab Mukherjee’s final memoir’s greater value — beyond the insights on parties and individuals — lies in its assessment of the institutions
Close
Mr Juster suggested that the idea of self-reliance, if taken beyond a certain point, would weigh down the trajectory of bilateral cooperation in defence and economics(Prabhas Roy)
Mr Juster suggested that the idea of self-reliance, if taken beyond a certain point, would weigh down the trajectory of bilateral cooperation in defence and economics(Prabhas Roy)

Where India and US diverge | HT Editorial

By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JAN 07, 2021 07:20 AM IST
With an eye on China, both countries must narrow the gap on defence, tech and trade
Close
The relatives of a person injured in the collapse of a roof at Murad Nagar, Ghaziabad, January 3, 2021(Sakib Ali /Hindustan Times)
The relatives of a person injured in the collapse of a roof at Murad Nagar, Ghaziabad, January 3, 2021(Sakib Ali /Hindustan Times)

Ghaziabad roof collapse: The challenge of maintaining public infra

UPDATED ON JAN 06, 2021 06:14 AM IST
While the swift action taken by the administrationpraiseworthy, the roof collapse is symptomatic of a larger problem that is rampant across India — the failure of the government machinery to not just ensure good quality public infrastructure (all built with public money), but also force contractors to keep to guaranteed timelines and maintain infrastructure projects in good shape during their lifecycle
Close
Whatever the opposition put up by China, if India shows it has the diplomatic skills to get other countries to work together, the case for it being a permanent member will become irrefutable.(PTI)
Whatever the opposition put up by China, if India shows it has the diplomatic skills to get other countries to work together, the case for it being a permanent member will become irrefutable.(PTI)

India at the horse shoe table

UPDATED ON JAN 06, 2021 06:15 AM IST
As it enters the UNSC, New Delhi must focus on what is feasible and show its abilities
Close
Pakistan remains the global centre of state-sponsored terrorism with its present target being Afghanistan. It is hoped this simple fact finds reflection in the deliberations of FATF’s member-states.(REUTERS)
Pakistan remains the global centre of state-sponsored terrorism with its present target being Afghanistan. It is hoped this simple fact finds reflection in the deliberations of FATF’s member-states.(REUTERS)

Eyewash by Pakistan on terror again

UPDATED ON JAN 05, 2021 04:09 PM IST
The Financial Action Task Force should see through the cover-up each time
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP