India and the United Kingdom will address immigration-related issues between them, which would include visas, returning illegal migrants and extradition in a comprehensive agreement scheduled to be signed in New Delhi in late 2017.
Indian home secretary, Rajiv Mehrishi, discussed these issues in several meeting he had with British interlocutors when he visited London for a week.
Hindustan Times quotes officials as telling it that the UK officials were intending to address various issues as a package and reach an agreement during the visit of immigration minister, Brandon Lewis, to New Delhi later in 2017.
Crucial issues would be visas for diplomats, IT professionals, students, radicalisation and India’s concerns about the UK allowing groups viewed as anti-India to operate and raise funds in Britain.
But the British officials, while maintaining that there was no compromise on terrorism, said that they preferred to engage with such groups than confront them.
Earlier in July, British authorities retracted permission for a rally in Birmingham to commemorate the death of Burhan Wani, a Hizbul Mujahideen commander.
Mehrishi said that there was no dispute or intention to take back Indians who may be in the UK illegally. He said they would hasten the return of all people who are identified as nationals of India.
Although there were no official figures of illegal migrants being published, according to a top British functionary, Indians ranked first on the list, as over 100,000 of them were in the UK.
Another major issue that would come up for discussion was decreasing substantially the visa fees for British citizens, especially the e-visas, while the cost of British visas for Indian nationals continues to be high. The officials said that the principle of reciprocity called for a similar reduction of visa fees to the UK for Indians.
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