British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is in New Delhi for a three-day trade meet to attract business to post-Brexit Britain, has rejected India's demands for easier visa norms. May said that the UK already has a "good system" for application with nine out of 10 visa applications from India being accepted.
India had demanded easier norms for students, businessmen and other short-term travellers. Currently, Indians pay much more than the Chinese for short-term visas and India wanted visa costs to come down as well.
However, she said that wealthy Indian business executives will be offered access to the Great Club — a bespoke visa and immigration service — also a brainchild of May. The offer will be extended to a small group of individuals with high net worth and their families, BBC reported. May was clear that the UK would revise the number of visas it grants for Indians only if India could bring back those who are overstaying in Britain.
Indians with work visas will be able to join the Registered Travellers Scheme — another scheme to ease border controls.
"As we leave the EU, we want to ensure that the UK remains one of the most attractive countries in the world to do business and invest," May said.
Since Indian students are not allowed to stay in the UK beyond a few months after completing their education, not many choose to go the European country any more.
Currently, India's economy is three times that of the UK and India is at a greater bargaining position. And, some of the arguments made during Brexit campaigning by Conservatives and Ukip had been about opening doors to countries like India that have fast growth than a European country like Bulgaria.
"We need to immediately get the government, Theresa May, on this visit to announce and say 'we're no longer going to include international students within the net migration figures,'" crossbencher Lord Bilimoria told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend. "The reality is Theresa May when she was home secretary did deliver very, very negative messages towards immigration...She has got a lot of bridge-building to do when she goes to India."
May and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be signing agreements on Monday and will issue a joint statement later. May will also be visiting Gandhi Smriti and India Gate.