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UK plans cheaper, easier visas for Indians as it eyes trade deal

UK Ministers believe a trade deal with Delhi would provide British businesses with a head start start in what is predicted to be the world’s third-largest economy by 2050…reports Asian Lite News.

UK Ministers are keen to ease immigration restrictions in a bid to make it easier for thousands of Indian citizens to live and work in the country as part of the forthcoming trade talks, the Guardian reported.

The potential offer will be under discussion when International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan travels to Delhi this month, reports the Times UK.

Relaxing immigration rules for Indian citizens is a key demand from Delhi.

Trevelyan is said to have the backing of the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, who is keen to curb China’s growing influence in the region. However, they are likely to meet strong resistance from Some Secretary Priti Patel, who opposes the offer.

According to the Times UK, visa relaxation options under consideration include a scheme similar to one agreed with Australia which would allow young Indians the right to live and work in the UK for up to three years.

Another would be to cut visa fees for students and allow them to stay in Britain for a period of time after they graduate. Visa fees for work and tourism, which can cost up to 1,400 pounds, could also be reduced as a sweetener.

UK Ministers believe a trade deal with Delhi would provide British businesses with a head start in what is predicted to be the world’s third-largest economy by 2050.

It could also see Britain jump ahead as India does not have bilateral trade deals with either the US or the European Union.

Ministers are said to be in agreement that a “generous” offer on visas could be the price for such a deal.

One government figure told the Times: “The tech and digital space in India is still hugely protectionist and if we could open up even a slither of access it would put us ahead of the game.”

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