UK Agrees New Visa Policy With India To Attract Business
British Prime Minister Theresa May faced tough questions on student visa rules during her two-day trip to India.
It was the prime minister’s first bilateral visit outside Europe and she took with her 33 business representatives on a trip “designed to further strengthen the India–UK Strategic Partnership,” according to a government statement.
However, prior to her trip Indian government spokesman Vikas Swarup said that restrictions on post-UK study for Indian students meant less were enrolling in UK universities, according to a Guardian newspaper article citing the Observer.
“Indian students and people-to-people relations are important pillars of India-UK ties,” he said. “In the last five years or so, the number of Indian students enrolling in UK universities has gone down by almost 50 percent; from around 40,000 to about 20,000 now. This has happened because of restrictions on post-study stay in the UK.”
Prior to the trip Mrs May had said she wanted to “reboot” the relationship the UK had with India.
“The UK and India are natural partners – the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy – and together I believe we can achieve great things – delivering jobs and skills, developing new technologies and improving our cities, tackling terrorism and climate change,” she said.
During her trip she said there remained no cap on overall numbers of international students , that Indian students would continue to be welcome in the UK and that the UK Home Secretary had recently announced her intention to consult on changes to the UK student visa regime.
Mrs May also announced that India would become the first country to be offered the Registered Traveller Scheme, offering business travellers expedited clearance at the UK border.
The government statement added: These changes further reflect the fact that India will have one of the best UK visa services of any country in the world, with more application points than anywhere else and the only place where you can get a same-day visa, reflecting the UK government’s commitment to continuing to attract inward investment and business from India.