Theresa May has rejected calls to relax Indian visa rules, saying the UK has a ‘good system’ for applications. The British Prime Minister, who is in Delhi to pave the way for the UK’s first post-Brexit trade deal, said the UK was already able to attract ‘the brightest and the best’ from outside the EU.
May has said she plans to use the two-day visit to try to reduce barriers to trade with India and pave the way for a post-Brexit free-trade deal. The Indian government is keen to secure more access to Britain for students and skilled workers with visa numbers a likely sticking point in any talks.
In a bid to woo high net worth individuals from the Indian business community as part of her first trade mission to the county, May promised to make it easier for them to make repeat trips to Britain.
The Registered Travellers Scheme will open initially to those on a work visa and around 10,000 individuals are expected to take advantage in the first two years. They will be free to use bio-metric gates and will not have to complete a landing card. Nine other nations currently have this service.
Asked by a reporter whether, in return for a trade deal, the government would consider a visa system more sympathetic to Indians, May said, “Nine out of 10 visa applications from India are already accepted.”
“We have a visa system for countries outside the European Union which ensures the brightest and the best are able to come to the United Kingdom,” she added. “We have, I believe, a good system. We will be talking about trade here.”
“As we leave the EU, we want to ensure that the United Kingdom remains one of the most attractive countries in the world to do business and invest,” May said in a statement.