Curtailing UK Visa is affecting trade ties with India as per the latest report published by the UK Members of Parliament. The UK has fallen behind other nations in its share of fast-growing trade in India. This is chiefly due to the restricted immigration policies in the UK, add the MPs.
The report has been published by the Commons Overseas Affairs Select Committee. Neglecting the time-honoured ties with India is a ‘costly missed opportunity’ adds the report. It notes that the UK has slipped to the 17th position in 2018-19 from being the second largest trade partner of India in 1998-99.
The report of the Committee highlights the difficulty that would be faced by the UK in developing fresh trade ties after its exit from the EU. This is unless it relaxes UK Visa curbs welcoming more overseas students, workers, and tourists.
The Global Strategy of the UK is hardly being communicated in India, says the report. However, the hostile ambiance message is being communicated loud and clear, it added. This was referring to the conflict between post-Brexit trade strategy by Prime Minister Theresa May and her target to reduce net yearly immigration to less than 100,000.
Commons Overseas Affairs Select Committee MPs have asked the UK Government to be honest regarding its priorities. This is because the goals were conflicting, they added.
The Government of India has clarified that it is no hurry to sign the trade deal with the UK. This is unless the curbs on UK Visa are significantly reduced.
A Trade Expert at a think-tank the Centre for European Reform Sam Lowe has said that the UK will have to be clear in its priorities. It will have to develop an immigration regime that is talent-friendly if it has to emerge as the services trading hub globally. This is rather than keeping the talents out, added Lowe, as quoted by the FT.
The MPs added that there is no reason for the policies that have resulted in the UK losing ground in attracting students and tourists from India. This is something that is endorsed by some of the senior Ministers of the UK Cabinet.
Sajid Javid has openly announced his intent to dump the numerical target for annual net immigration to the UK. He also called for ending the curbs imposed by Mrs. May on overseas students. It is for those who intend to remain in the UK after graduating from UK Universities.
The numbers of students from India arriving in the UK for studies have almost reduced by 50%. The figures reached 20,000 in 2017-18 from 40,000 in 2009-10.
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