Theresa May visited India in Nov 2016 accompanied by a large business delegation. The offensive was to secure trade deals to bolster trade post Brexit. To put things in perspective India is the third biggest investor in the UK, the second biggest creator of private sector jobs in the UK and the UK is the biggest G20 investor in India.

While Boris Johnson talked of ‘turbo charging’ the relationship with a new trade deal, the Indian officials raised the issues of UK visas stating, “mobility issues are of importance to us; we cannot separate free movement of people from the free flow of goods, services and investments”.

From visas for students to workers (particularly in the IT) there is growing concern among-st Indians and UK is gaining a reputation that it no longer welcomes migrants. The number of Indian students going to study in US, Canada, Australia and even France and Poland is rising, while student applications to UK have fallen significantly from 29,900 in 2011-12 to 16,745 in 2015-16.

However with Theresa May affirming that the visa rules will remain unchanged and with the restrictions like closing down of Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (Short term) and the levying of Immigration skills charge, it remains to be seen how this relationship can be turbo charged.

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