By Oyintari Ben
In order to contribute to securing a free trade agreement with India, Britain has no intentions to alter its strategy for lowering net migration, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Thursday.
Although the remaining issues to be resolved are some of the most challenging, there is rising optimism that the two nations will reach a free trade agreement this year. Both parties agree on the pact’s general framework.
Sunak told his ministers this week that negotiations were moving forward but that he would only accept a strategy that worked for all of Britain. Sunak is travelling to India this weekend for the G20 summit.
As part of trade negotiations, Britain will negotiate short-term business visas but not longer-term immigration obligations or access to the British labour market for employees from India, according to Trade Minister Kemi Badenoch in June.
“The prime minister thinks that migration numbers are too high right now… For the record, there are no intentions to alter our immigration policies to accomplish this free trade deal, and that goes for student visas, as a representative for Sunak told journalists.
Suella Braverman, the interior minister, created controversy last year when she made remarks regarding the potential influence of Indian immigrants on trade negotiations. She expressed concern about any “open borders migration policy with India” and people who overstay their visas.
Vikram Doriaswamy, India’s High Commissioner to Britain, countered that while the idea that India wanted additional visas had appeared in British media, it had not appeared in Indian media.
He added on Times Radio, “We never said that the visas were part of our task,” adding that India was looking for easier ways for businesses to transport citizens of the UK and India back and forth between the two nations.
“We are not requesting that migrants be allowed to enter this country.”