Mayor calls for visa change to attract Indian talent

04 December 2017

Mayor Sadiq Khan today called on the Government to commit to a more flexible visa system to make it easier for talented Indians to work and study in the UK.

In a speech to senior Indian business leaders in Mumbai, Sadiq said he wanted the UK and India to forge a new special relationship - one not only based on trade and investment, but that encouraged talented young people in particular to study and work in London.

The Mayor’s call came as he leads a trade mission to India and Pakistan to build business links with the subcontinent and share the message that despite Brexit, London remains open to investment and talent from around the world.

He voiced his frustration with the UK’s visa system, which he said was hampering the UK’s trade relationship - in particular, the Government’s decision to close the previous Tier 1 post-study work route, which has contributed to the number of Indian students coming to London falling by over 40 per cent since 2010 to fewer than 5,000 in 2015-16.

A commitment to a more flexible visa system would not only benefit the UK’s relationship with India, but also with other growing economies worldwide, the Mayor said.

“I fully appreciate the real disappointment that many Indians have felt about the British Government’s decision to make it more difficult for Indians to gain visas to work and study in the UK,” Sadiq said.

“In London I’m making the case loud and clear for a fair, flexible immigration system that allows us to attract talented people - with fewer barriers and less red tape. As part of this I’m putting forward detailed proposals for a new post-study work visa for international students,” he said.

Sadiq also called for a new India-UK International Work Experience Programme to encourage young people from both countries to spend time and learn about India and the UK.

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