Britian may issue 20,000 Indians with a UK Visa annually under a new EU trade agreement worth billions.
21 February 2011
Indians may get 20,000 UK Visas annually under EU agreement
Up to 20,000 UK visas a year may be available for Indians, as part of a deal with the European Union in return for an annual four billion pounds in export trade.
Under the proposed deal, Britain would issue a UK Visa to thousands of workers in exchange for potentially lucrative export deals.
Negotiations for the EU-India free trade agreement have seen New Delhi lobbying for between 35,000 and 50,000 visas a year across the 27-member states, with between 15,000 and 20,000 visas to its citizens every year for Britain, 3,000 for France and 7,000 for Germany.
The visas would only be available for highly-skilled and highly qualified professionals entering the UK temporarily.
If the European Union accepts the plan it would be the first time power over migration from outside the EU had been handed to Brussels, and the first time any country has gained access to a fixed number of British visas every year.
A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said: "The UK strongly supports the conclusion of an ambitious free trade agreement which is currently being negotiated by the Commission.
"The long-term benefits for both parties would be considerable and will deliver significant economic benefits to the UK, reducing both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade,” he said.
Negotiations on the free trade agreement are ongoing and are expected to be concluded this year.