New Delhi demands easier visa rules for Indian companies investing in UK amid FTA negotiations | Mint
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Business News/ News / India/  New Delhi demands easier visa rules for Indian companies investing in UK amid FTA negotiations
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New Delhi demands easier visa rules for Indian companies investing in UK amid FTA negotiations

India intends to persist in advocating for relaxed visa regulations for skilled professionals hired by its companies investing in the UK, as it seeks to complete a free trade agreement (FTA) with the UK by the end of 2023.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier had a talk with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi.Premium
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier had a talk with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi.

India is pressing the UK government for easier visa rules for skilled professionals employed by Indian companies investing in Britain, as negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two nations continue.

The move is in addition to India's longstanding appeal for more visas for Indian workers although this has so far met with reluctance from the UK government, which has led to talks overrunning their original deadline of October 2022.

Indian firms are the second largest foreign investors in the UK and India is hoping to secure hiring flexibility for its businesses.

The latest round of talks began on 25 April and are expected to last for a week. Issues on the table include the potential introduction of a carbon tax on steel imports, rules of origin issues, and longer-term work options for Indian students in the UK.

Also Read: Digital divide: India-UK FTA faces data flow rift

However, the main focus of the talks is the finalisation of the FTA, which is expected to double bilateral trade between the two countries by 2030. The negotiations have already experienced delays, with the UK government having previously aimed to finalise the deal by Diwali 2022.

The deal is a significant objective for the UK, which hopes to cut tariffs and open up opportunities for UK services to operate in India. For India, the agreement is crucial to achieving its target of $2tn in exports annually by 2030 and to becoming a top choice for companies shifting supply chains away from China.

Also Read: India, Russia discuss FTA to guarantee investment, says Russian deputy PM

The talks come at a time when the relationship between the two countries has been strained, with the Indian High Commission in London recently vandalised and a critical documentary about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi aired on the British Broadcasting Corporation.

However, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has expressed hope for the future of the partnership, describing it as "part of a broader relationship with India that is growing".

While the UK has insisted that trade and immigration are separate policy areas, discussions regarding temporary business travel within the FTA to allow professionals to deliver services in each other's markets are ongoing. Nevertheless, the FTA will not include commitments on immigration. The UK government is also seeking to lower import duties on automobiles and Scotch whisky.

(With agency inputs)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and sports. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Published: 26 Apr 2023, 06:43 AM IST
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