Visa cloud over trade ties as British PM Theresa May arrives in India
The stringent visa regulations by the British cast a shadow over the prospect of two countries hammering out an ambitious trade and investment partnership post-Brexit as UK Prime Minister Teresa May arrived in the country on Sunday night.
This is the first visit by May to a country outside the Europe after taking over the prime minister, but a slew of commercial deals are expected during the visit.
She is accompanied by international trade secretary Liam Fox and trade minister Greg Hands and key business leaders and the visit is expected to pave way for two countries stepping up their business ties as UK tries to recast its business ties with countries after the referendum to leave European Union.
But the stringent visa regulations by the British have raced hackles in New Delhi and Indian side will raise their concerns over the visa rules that affecting Indian students as well as skilled workers when May meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.
India has been raising its concern related to visa and migration with the UK for sometime now. In the past five years, the number of Indian students studying in UK got halved from 40,000 to 20, 000 due to the change in the visa rules on post-study work.
“Mobility issues are of importance to us. We cannot separate free movement of people from free flow of goods, services and investments. We hope for UK being responsive to our concerns,” said an Indian official.
Said S Irudayarajan, migration expert and long time consultant for government on mobility issues “India is an important country for UK. And curbing the flow of good minds whether they are students or skilled workers is not good for UK.”
About the visit May had said “this is a partnership about our shared security and shared prosperity. It is a partnership of potential. I intend to harness that potential, rebooting an age-old relationship in this age of opportunity and with that helping to build a better Britain.”