About 45 MPs of the United Kingdom belonging to the ruling Conservative Party have urged their government to fast-track visa services for citizens of 52 Commonwealth countries, including India, as in the post-Brexit environment, Britain will have to ally with other countries outside Europe.
In a letter to Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, the MPs also said that the signs at the border should be modified to particularly welcome Commonwealth citizens. The recommendations listed in the letter would be debated in on 26 February in Parliament.
Among the MPs wanting these changes were Tim Loughton, a former education minister, and Sir Henry Bellingham, a former foreign office minister, who wanted them to be deliberated before Commonwealth trade ministers meeting in March in London.
They were quoted by The Telegraph as saying that the focus of that meeting was renewed trade and ties between the Commonwealth and the UK. It asked Rudd to bring about positive transformations in their relations with their partners in Commonwealth.
Lord Marland, the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council’s current chairman, who is the organiser of the first ever meeting of trade ministers of 25 Commonwealth countries in London on 9-10 March, appreciating the letter, told The Telegraph that visas have been constantly a reason of antagonism for Commonwealth nations.
The letter further added that Commonwealth nations in the last century supported Britain as they faced threats of existence from its enemies, but they moved towards Europe, leaving their Commonwealth associates high and dry.
Citing figures, the letter said that in 2015, Australia Canada and India alone accounted for 2.2 million visitors whose spending in Britain exceeded £2 billion.
Visitors from these three Commonwealth nations regularly figure in the top five non-EEA (European Economic Area) countries visiting the UK for business as well as pleasure.
The letter also noted the fact that the Commonwealth offers an English language trading network for their country, which is already in place. According to the MPs, the government must try to find ways to reduce wait times for citizens of Commonwealth entering the UK.
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