The­re­sa May says UK will not rai­se vi­sa quo­ta for In­di­an na­ti­o­nals

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

IN­DIA - The­re­sa May has das­hed In­di­an ho­pes for a mo­re li­be­ral vi­sa sy­s­tem for its na­ti­o­nals wan­ting to work in the UK by ar­guing that the cur­rent of­fer is ge­nerous en­ough.

Spea­king on the way to her first bi­la­te­ral mee­ting in Del­hi, the pri­me mi­nis­ter ar­gued that Bri­tain was al­rea­dy ab­le to at­tract the “brigh­test and best” from out­si­de the EU. “The fi­gu­res show that we is­sue mo­re work vis­as to In­dia than I think US, Au­stra­lia and Chi­na put to­gether. Ni­ne out of 10 vi­sa ap­pli­ca­ti­ons from In­dia are al­rea­dy ac­cep­ted. We ha­ve, I be­lie­ve, a good sy­s­tem”, she said. The com­ments will pro­ve dis­ap­poin­ting for so­me in the In­di­an govern­ment and bu­si­ness com­mu­ni­ty who ha­ve ar­gued for mo­re of their high­ly skil­led pro­fes­si­o­nal wor­kers to be ab­le to get six-month vis­as for the UK and other Eu­ro­pean coun­tries. The de­mand for mo­re free­doms for In­di­an wor­kers mo­ving abroad was a part of tra­de ne­go­ti­a­ti­ons with the EU, which stal­led be­cau­se of fai­lu­re to agree on it and other is­sues. Vin­ce Ca­ble, the for­mer Lib Dem bu­si­ness se­cre­ta­ry, said May’s re­fu­sal to agree to any such li­be­ra­li­sa­ti­on in the past was a key stum­bling block to tra­de talks bet­ween the EU and In­dia. Alt­hough he ad­mit­ted they we­re com­plex ne­go­ti­a­ti­ons, he clai­med that her un­wil­ling­ness to bud­ge was down to an ob­ses­si­on over get­ting the net mi­gra­ti­on num­bers down as ho­me se­cre­ta­ry.

May said she ho­ped that her three-day vi­sit to In­dia would pa­ve the way for a fu­tu­re tra­de ar­ran­ge­ment af­ter Brexit as she sought to break down bar­riers. Ho­we­ver, she sug­ge­sted she did not think a mo­re ge­nerous vi­sa sy­s­tem was ne­ces­sa­ry. “Tra­de is an im­por­tant part of our re­la­ti­ons­hip with In­dia. In­dia is the third-big­gest in­ves­tor in­to the UK – se­cond-big­gest cre­a­tor of pri­va­te sec­tor jobs in the UK. And the UK is the big­gest G20 in­ves­tor in­to In­dia, but the­re is mo­re we can do,” she said. May was joi­ned by a de­le­ga­ti­on of bu­si­ness re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ves for a trip du­ring which she at­ten­ded the In­di­aUK tech sum­mit in Del­hi with Pri­me Mi­nis­ter Na­ren­dra Mo­di be­fo­re a bi­la­te­ral mee­ting. (The­gu­ar­di­

The­re­sa May with In­di­an Pri­me Mi­nis­ter Na­ren­dra Mo­di du­ring a vi­sit to In­dia for bi­la­te­ral talks and tra­de events. (Pho­to: EPA)

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