UK has no plans to change migration policy for free trade deal with India; PM Sunak team says, ‘it's crystal clear’ | Mint
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Business News/ News / World/  UK has no plans to change migration policy for free trade deal with India; PM Sunak team says, ‘it's crystal clear’
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UK has no plans to change migration policy for free trade deal with India; PM Sunak team says, ‘it's crystal clear’

UK will not alter migration strategy for trade deal with India, says spokesperson for PM Sunak ahead of G20 summit.

UK has no plans to change in migration strategy for free trade deal with India (AFP)Premium
UK has no plans to change in migration strategy for free trade deal with India (AFP)

The UK has no intentions of altering its strategy for reducing net migration in pursuit of a free trade agreement with India, a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed in a recent announcement. This comes only a day ahead Sunak is headed for India to attend the G20 summit.

"The prime minister believes that the current levels of migration are too high ... To be crystal clear, there are no plans to change our immigration policy to achieve this free trade agreement and that includes student visas," Sunak's spokesperson told journalists.

Last year, Interior Minister Suella Braverman stirred controversy by expressing concerns about the potential impact of Indian migrants on trade talks. She cited worries about an "open borders migration policy with India" and individuals overstaying visas.

However, as the talks between the two countries started, trade minister Kemi Badenoch, earlier this year, had asserted Britain would discuss temporary business visas as part of trade talks but not broader immigration commitments or access to Britain's labour market for Indian workers.

‘Visas were never part of our ask’

However India's High Commissioner to Britain Vikram Doriaswamy said that the notion India wanted more visas had been in the British press but not in Indian media.

"We never said that the visas are part of our ask," he told Times radio, adding that India instead sought simpler ways for companies to move UK and Indian nationals between the countries.

"We are not asking for migrants to be able to come here."

Modern, forward-looking free trade agreement: UK PM Rishi Sunak

Both India and UK are optimistic about finalising a trade deal this year, although several challenging topics still need to be addressed. 

About the deal, Sunak said, a modern, forward-looking free trade agreement can put us firmly on the path to our shared ambition of doubling UK-India trade by 2030,"

"It's very exciting to have this opportunity to expand our trade relationship, and to be the first European country that India has negotiated a free trade deal with," he said.

The prime minister’s responses to PTI’s questions were sent by email.

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Published: 07 Sep 2023, 07:50 PM IST
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