Home » Ministers To Relax Immigration Rules To Help Thousands Of Indians Live And Work In UK

Ministers To Relax Immigration Rules To Help Thousands Of Indians Live And Work In UK

Ministers plan to relax immigration rules to make it easier for thousands of Indians to live and work in UK as government seeks closer ties with India to counter China influence

  • Indian citizens could more freely live and work in the UK under new mooted rules
  • Immigration curbs are a key point that could dominate UK-India 2022 trade talks
  • Cabinet is said to be split over possibility of loosening border controls for India

By Jacob Thorburn For Mailonline

Published: | Updated:

Ministers are plotting to ease immigration restrictions that could help thousands of Indian citizens both live and work in the UK more easily in 2022.

The move is said to be a key point that could dominate trade talks that are due to commence between the two countries in Delhi later this month.

International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is primed to dangle the offer in front of Indian representatives as part of a Government plan to curb China’s growing influence in the region.

One senior government insider explained that ministers generally accepted that a ‘generous’ visa offer would be the necessary counterbalance in any trade talks.

Ms Trevelyan is said to be backed by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, but will likely face pressure from Home Secretary Priti Patel who does not support the move, reports the Times.

As part of trade talks between the UK and India immigration restrictions could be eased that would see thousands more Indian citizens more easily live and work in Britain. Pictured: Residents pictured in Katra, India

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (above) is said to back the plans that would see immigration curbs on Indians relaxed

As part of the plans, Indian citizens could be offered similar visa deal to those given to Australians – allowing young workers the right to live and work in Britain for up to three years.

Other mooted options include slashing visa fees for Indian students, and allowing them a temporary stay in the country after graduation.

Work and tourism visas – which at present can cost up to £1,400 – could also be cheapened in a move to sweeten the Delhi representatives.

A free trade agreement between both India and the UK would solidify a closer economic relationship between the pair, which began last May when a £1billion trade and investment deal was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

No 10 had said UK businesses had secured export deals worth more than £446million and was expected to create more than 400 jobs.

At the time, Mr Johnson said: ‘Each and every one of the more than 6,500 jobs announced today will help families and communities build back from coronavirus and boost the British and Indian economies.’

As an emerging market and one of the world’s most populous nations, India’s GDP (gross domestic product) stands at around £2 trillion despite not having a bilateral trade deal with the US or the EU.

Britain will be hoping its close ties with India could see it trump the rest of the world and secure an historic trade deal, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson promises to go ‘further and faster’ to push Britain ahead in a post-Brexit world.

The plan is likely to face pressure from Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured) who is said to not support the move

Ministers agree that any agreement with Delhi would provide British businesses with a huge head start in what is anticipated to be the world’s third largest economy by 2050.

India, largely a protectionist economy that imposes significant tariffs on imports, has discussed the possibility to loosening those restrictions for British products, including whisky which can face import duties of up to 150 per cent.

However, the UK’s trade arm is said to view a more ambitious free-trade agreement that includes access to India’s burgeoning technology sector as its end goal.

A Department for International Trade spokesman said in a statement: ‘A free-trade agreement [with India] will open up huge opportunities for UK businesses.’