Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, will travel to India with the offer to relax immigration rules in a plan to secure a trade deal with a state set to become the third-largest economy by 2050. Next month, Ms Trevelyan will start negotiations with the state and may use a scheme, similar to that agreed with Australia, in order to sign a blockbuster trade deal – ahead of the EU and the US. Under the proposal, young Indians would be able to work in the UK for up to three years, while students may have visa fees cut.
There are also plans to allow Indian students the chance to remain in the UK for a time following their graduation.
According to The Times, Ms Trevelyan is supported by Liz Truss, with the Foreign Secretary keen to strengthen ties with India in the face of growing Chinese power.
The UK is keen to establish trade in India’s growing tech and digital industry.
Under current rates, a visa for an Indian citizen costs £1,400, while it costs just £348 for students and £95 for tourists.
A Government source said the UK would need to offer compromises on visa rates if there is a chance of agreeing a new trade deal.
Last year, the UK and India agreed to deepen cooperation between the two states with a new Enhanced Trade Partnership.
Due to the partnership, 6,500 new jobs will be created while also generating £1billion of new trade between the two.
The partnership is also regarded as a key milestone in agreeing a free trade agreement with the state this year.
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“And from Singapore to Switzerland, we’ve negotiated ambitious free trade deals to boost jobs and investment here at home.
“But that’s not all.
“From simplifying the EU’s mind-bogglingly complex beer and wine duties to proudly restoring the crown stamp on to the side of pint glasses, we’re cutting back on EU red tape and bureaucracy and restoring common sense to our rulebook.
“The job isn’t finished and we must keep up the momentum.
“In the year ahead my government will go further and faster to deliver on the promise of Brexit and take advantage of the enormous potential that our new freedoms bring.”