London Mayor bats for change in UK govt's visa policy

London Mayor Sadiq Khan pays tribute to the 26/11 martyrs' at a memorial inside Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai
Continuing his criticism of the UK government's strict visa norms, visiting London Mayor Sadiq Khan today said they are preparing a proposal for revising policies like "for post-study work visas".

"We are putting together a proposal to the government, to revise the policies like for post-study work visas," Khan said at an event here.

Reiterating his criticism of the stringent visa norms, Khan said he was "lobbying" with the British government to revise the visa policy to help attract more trade and investment to the UK capital.

Terming the visa policy of Theresa May government as a "huge mistake", Khan said, "On the one hand the British government is asking Indian businesses to trade there and on the other hand they have made it more tough with strict visa norms".

The London Mayor yesterday kicked off his first official tour to three Indian cities beginning from the commercial capital of the country. He will also visit Delhi and Amritsar with a view to strengthen London's trade ties.

"We are looking to foster new and meaningful ties, not only in business but also in areas like education and culture," Khan said.

Referring to thriving Indian diaspora in the British capital, he said, "London's Indian diaspora has been a huge contributor, be it in the areas of technology, finance, art or culture".

During his interaction with reporters yesterday, Khan said, "I am a big critic of the British government over the change in the Visa policy. I think they have made a big mistake, as on one hand the British government is asking Indian businesses to trade there and on the other hand they have made it more hard (to enter the country)".

Recently, the Theresa May government changed its visa policy for non-EU (European Union) nationals to curb its soaring immigration figures. The policy which came into effect in November will affect a large number of Indians, especially IT professionals.

David Slater, Director of International Trade and Investment at London and Partners, today said the UK is among the top trade destinations for India, attracting up to 10 per cent of its investments.

He said the Mayor's international business programme was attracting investments from across the globe.

"In the eight months to February 2017, over 1700 new businesses came to the UK and several large technology companies like Snapchat, Google, Apple, among others, have invested in the country," he said.

As part of the business delegation, 20 high performing business to business start-ups are visiting the country.

Similarly, there will be 20 Indian start-ups chosen annually, as part of the India Emerging Twenty (IE20) programme launched by the business and promotional agency of the Mayor's office, London & Partners (L&P).

The IE20 provides a global platform to the top 20 upcoming global Indian organisations and offers them worldwide visibility.

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