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India wants pact with UK on short-term student visas

 H S Rao |  2016-10-23 21:41:38.0  |  London

India hopes to reach a deal with Britain for facilitating short-term visas for Indian students, academicians and businessmen during Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit, Acting High Commissioner to the UK Dinesh Patnaik has said. 

“I am hopeful, certain things will happen,” he said. I hope we will have a deal on Britain facilitating short-term visas for students, academicians and businessmen from India and these categories should not be in the migration list,” Patnaik told reporters. 

Noting that May’s visit is important for India, he said, “This is her first bilateral visit and India is her first trip outside the continent. UK-India, we have a very very long umbilical relationship.”  

“It is an official visit and she will be heading a high-level 160-strong delegation. The trade delegation also assumes importance because of the Brexit scenario,” he added. “Post-Brexit, they will need it and they want to increase trade outside EU. The discussion will focus on framework of post-Brexit trade deal.” 

On the Indian side, he said “what we want is ease of doing business - access to the UK, both for students, academicians and businessmen.”  He noted that a large number of tourists visit Europe but return home because of visa restrictions. India wants Britain to extend visa concessions given to Chinese to be extended to Indians - six months to two years visa for 87 pound. He said that many companies here are shifting their jobs to India. In the next three to four months, about 2,000 jobs are expected to go to India.

Recently, FICCI expressed concerns over the UK government’s announcements indicating tightening of visa regulations for students and professionals from outside the European Union, including India.  The industry body called on the British government to exercise “caution” in light of plans announced recently by UK home secretary Amber Rudd to tighten migration rules, which is expected to impact Indians heavily.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry said it fears the new proposals seek to reduce the flow of immigrants from outside the EU to the UK in the short and medium term. 

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