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India raises visa issues, FDI with UK

Posted on Oct 08, 07:03PM | IBNS

Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma raised issues pertaining to visa and post study work visa with the visiting Lord Mayor of London David Wootton, here on Monday.

Sharma explained that Indian companies are using United Kingdom as a base to service their investment in Europe.

"Indian IT personnel come and leave after short deputations. However, the new measures that the UK Government has proposed for are likely to affect the profitability and competitiveness of Indian companies," he said.

"While we appreciate that UK may have reasons for introducing a cap on non-EU economic immigrants, our concern is to ensure that these measures do not adversely affect the growing trade and economic partnership between our two countries," said Sharma.

Likewise, the recent measures over student visas by the British Government, including on post-study work visas may make it difficult for Indian students to pursue university education in UK, emphasised Sharma.

The Lord Mayor and the UK side expressed the appreciation for Indian understanding and informed the Indian Minister about UK's commitment to encourage people-to-people contact between the two countries and work towards removing hindrances.

Sharma also conveyed the government's concerns regarding the fate of Indian students affected by UK Border Agency's (UKBA) decision to revoke London Metropolitan University (LMU)'s licence to admit non-EU international students.

Lord Mayor and his officials assured the Minister of their determination to help Indian students in all possible ways as it also involves the reputation of UK as reliable education destination. They said they would strive to ensure that all the valid students are suitably accommodated.

Sharma briefed the visiting dignitary about the recent reforms in FDI and explained the opportunities for foreign investors in the new regime.

The Lord Mayor raised the issue of opening of legal and accountancy sectors.

He explained to him that India is governed by self-regulatory professional bodies like the Bar Council of India and the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

"Consultations with the professional bodies and the stakeholders are underway. Further movement in the matter will be possible as and when consensus emerges among all the stakeholders," he said.

Both the leaders also discussed the ongoing negotiations in India-EU Broad based Trade and Investment agreement (BTIA).

Sharma requested the Lord Mayor to convey India's commitment to ambitious and balanced agreement to the EU partners.