Sunday 6 November 2016

India warns UK immigration policy could halt trade deal


Theresa May's hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal with India suffered a hammer blow from Delhi as the prime minister prepared to make her first official visit to the country.

A spokesman for India's minister of external affairs suggested that a policy brought in by May as home secretary restricting the right of Indian students to stay in the UK after graduation could prove to be a block on any progress.

Before her first bilateral visit outside Europe on Sunday, taking 33 business representatives to India, May said she wished to "reboot" the relationship between the two countries. "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.

However the Indian government spokesman, Vikas Swarup, told the Observer that May faced tough questions when she arrived in Delhi on immigration and mobility for Indian students and workers in the UK.

"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%; from around 40,000 to about 20,000 now. This has happened because of restrictions on post-study stay in the UK.



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