Visa Crunch

UK PM Boris Johnson Hints At Visa Flexibility For Indians To Win Trade Deal With India

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was willing to offer more visas to India in exchange for this year’s signing of a free-trade agreement that could increase annual bilateral trade by billions of pounds.

On his way to the world’s second-most populous country, Johnson signalled his willingness to be more accommodating on an issue that could have stymied the talks.

“I have always been in favour of talented people coming to this country,” Johnson told reporters. “We are short to the tune of hundreds of thousands of people in our economy and we need to have a progressive approach and we will.”

Britain has made a trade deal with India one of its post-Brexit priorities, as ministers look to shift policy away from the European Union’s common trade policy and toward faster-growing economies in the Indo-Pacific region. India wants more opportunities for Indians to live and work in the United Kingdom. Each and every trade agreement will almost certainly be contingent on easing rules and lowering fees for Indian students and professionals visiting the country. India and former imperial power Britain already have strong trade ties, and after decades of migration, more than a million people of Indian origin live in Britain.

Britain wishes to capitalise on the wealth of India’s middle classes, as well as their appetite for premium British products such as Scotch whisky. They also hope that India will become a customer of their green technology, as well as that service trade will be bolstered. Britain has stated that the trade agreement could nearly double British exports to India and increase total trade by 28 billion pounds ($38 billion) per year by 2035. As per British statistics, total trade in 2019 was worth 23 billion pounds.

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