The availability of British visas to Indian nationals is a matter that’s expected to be high on the agenda at an upcoming India-UK trade meeting, due to take place in London next week.
Trade ministers representing the two countries are due to gather in the capital on January 11 for the latest India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) meeting.
According to a report by The Hindu newspaper, an Indian government official familiar with the matter said delegates are keen to address the availability of UK visas – specifically, restrictions that have affected Indian businesses operating in Britain.
Non-tariff barriers to trade and wider investment opportunities are also likely to be discussed in detail during the event.
In recent months the British government has moved to make it simpler for skilled Indian workers to reach the UK.
November saw the official opening of a new Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Bengaluru, an event attended by Britain’s immigration minister Brandon Lewis. The office has been located in the heart of the city’s business district to specifically target skilled workers in what is India’s IT capital.
The accessibility of visas was also highlighted by London’s mayor Sadiq Khan during his trade mission to India last month. Mr Khan used a speech in Mumbai to call for changes to the visa system that would see the introduction of a new post-study work route for international students.
Dr Liam Fox, Britain’s Secretary of State for International Trade, travelled to India in November 2016 and co-chaired the last JETCO meeting, held alongside the India-UK TECH Summit. Ministers from both countries affirmed the on-going commitment to “strengthen and deepen the bilateral trade, investment and economic engagement” between the two nations.