Modi asks British PM to relax visa rules for Indian students

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked Theresa May, Prime Minister of Britain to relax student visa rules, saying greater mobility of young people must be encouraged.

He was addressing the India-UK Tech Summit in the presence of the British PM.

Modi said that education is vital for Indian students and will define the country’s engagement in a shared future.

“We must therefore encourage greater mobility and participation of young people in education and research opportunities,” he said.

UK’s new policy requires students to return home after their courses end, a move that has led to fall in Indian students enrolling in British universities by 50 per cent.

The number of study visas issued to Indian nationals fell from 68,238 in 2010 to 11,864 this year, official UK figures show.

The British PM is here to promote UK’s first post-Brexit trade deal with India.

Meanwhile en-route to Delhi May had remarked to reporters that Britain had a visa system for countries outside the European Union which ensured that the brightest and the best were able to come to the United Kingdom. She said that the system was good.

She is also quoted as saying that nine out of 10 visa applications from India are already accepted, and that the figures show that more work visas were issued to India than the US, Australia, Canada and China put together.

At the summit, May however announced an easier visa regime for the businessmen coming to UK.

“So we will offer, for the first time to any country that needs visas to enter Britain, what we called ‘Registered Traveller Scheme’.”

“That means the Indian nationals who frequently come to the UK and to fuel growth in both our countries, the entry process will become significantly easier,” she said

High net worth individuals and their families will be offered to the Great Club – a bespoke visa and immigration service – to make visa applications smoother.

Also, Indians on work visas would be able to join the Registered Travellers Scheme, which will mean they can get through UK border controls more quickly.

“We want to attract more Indian businesses to the UK, which is why it’s right to offer Indian business executives a world-class visa service tailored to their needs,” Bloomberg quoted May as saying in a statement to journalists travelling with her.

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