The UK-India trade deal could ease visa access for Indian students, improving the mobility of thousands of incoming learners to UK shores.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have set intentions for bilateral free trade agreements between their two countries. Talks began in January, with India hoping to strike deals by October 2022.
The third round of talks, which began on April 25, 2022, was marked by Johnson’s visit to India on Thursday. agreements through other sectorsincluding defense, security and education, were supposed to be included in Johnson’s visit.
India in particular is hoping for greater opportunities for its nationals to study, live and work in the UK. A trade agreement between the UK and India could to see easing rules and lowering fees for Indian students and workers migrating to the country.
“I’ve always been in favor of talented people coming to this country,” Johnson told Reuters. “We are hundreds of thousands short in our economy and we need to have a phased approach and we will.”
Qualified students and graduates from India could help address labor shortages in critical sectors such as IT in the UK.
“If you look at, for example, computer science or computer programming, there are areas where there is no doubt that Indian skills can make a difference,” Johnson said in New Delhi. “I’m going to prioritize training Britons to do these jobs, but I’m not going to be dogmatic in refusing to allow competent and talented people to aspire to come to the UK.”
According to Reuters, more than one million people of Indian origin have migrated and currently live in the UK. Reports show that the UK is becoming most popular with Indian students despite the ongoing pandemic, increasing by 27% in 2020-21 and representing 19% of all non-EU registrations.
This is largely linked to the introduction of the UK Graduate Route, which has opened up the possibility for international students to stay and work after completing their studies. It is particularly popular due to the fact that graduates are not required to seek corporate sponsorship to legally work in the UK. Undergraduate and postgraduate students can stay and work for up to two years, while doctoral students have three years.
India is the UK’s most natural partner in education, according to Sanam Arora, founder and president of National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK.
“Post-study work rights are essential to this offer, and the results of this are already visible in the doubling of the number of India and I think this increase will continue. I am excited to see what will come out of the FTA negotiations,” Arora told The Times of India.
UK-India trade deal: an overview
Apart from a discussion on visas, the majority of discussions on the UK-India trade deal focus on lowering import duties on scotch and other whiskeys in India. This is to take advantage of the massive consumption of whiskey in India – which, due to high import taxes, is mostly made within its borders.
Breaking into this market would represent a “golden opportunity” for the UK, with the potential to increase total trade between the two countries by around £28bn by 2035, Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said. Without the current 150% duty on imported alcohol, UK exports could increase by more than a billion pounds over the next five years.
Other points of discussion include better access to medical devices and to legal, accounting and financial services. In addition to this, attempts to convince the Modi government to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and join the UK’s efforts to economically isolate Moscow have been discussed, according to a Bloomberg source.
This UK-India trade deal is part of Britain’s post-Brexit priorities, as the country’s ministers hope to shift policy towards faster growing economies along the Indo region. -peaceful.