THREE THOUSAND INDIANS a year will be granted visas to come to the UK under a new scheme signed off by Rishi Sunak as he seeks to smooth the path for a new trade deal.

THREE THOUSAND INDIANS a year will be granted visas to come to the UK under a new scheme signed off by Rishi Sunak as he seeks to smooth the path for a new trade deal.

The Prime Minister has given the green light to the UK-India Young Professionals Scheme, which will be open to Indians with degrees aged between 18 and 30 to come to the UK for two years.

The move, confirming an agreement worked up by Boris Johnson, will be seen as a good will gesture from the UK given Delhi is pushing for more visas as part of a trade agreement.

But both the scheme and Mr Sunak’s refusal to put an “arbitrary number” on migration targets could become points of tension with Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, who has raised concerns about the number of Indian migrants overstaying visas.
Downing Street confirmed the new scheme will launch at the start of next year ahead of Mr Sunak’s meeting with Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, at the G20 summit in Bali.
Britons will also get visas as part of the reciprocal agreement, which officials said would be a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a professional and cultural exchange”.

Mr Sunak said: “The Indo-Pacific is increasingly crucial for our security and our prosperity. It is teeming with dynamic and fast-growing economies, and the next decade will be defined by what happens in this region.

“I know first-hand the incredible value of the deep cultural and historic ties we have with India. I am pleased that even more of India’s brightest young people will now have the opportunity to experience all that life in the UK has to offer – and vice-versa – making our economies and societies richer.”

Mr Sunak’s grandparents are Indian and he is married to the daughter of an Indian billionaire, with his rise to the premiership garnering front page headlines in India.

The UK continues to push for a trade deal with India, with Mr Johnson’s previous hopes of an agreement being struck by this year’s Diwali celebrations already missed.

Mr Sunak appeared to play down the chance of a speedy breakthrough in talks, stressing that getting the correct deal was more important than speed.

Last month Ms Braverman expressed her concerns with the Indian trade deal talks and the possibility of an increase in visas for Indians.

Speaking to The Spectator magazine, she said of the deal: “I do have some reservations. Look at migration in this country – the largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants.”

PM refuses to back migration target
It came as Mr Sunak refused to back getting migration down to the tens of thousands, a fixture of the 2019 Tory manifesto which Ms Braverman last month described as her “ultimate aspiration”.

The Prime Minister said he was “committed to getting migration down over time” but emphasised the need “to be honest with people about the challenges we face”.

“Government policy, and my policy, is we will want to reduce net migration,” he told GB News. “I’m not going to put an arbitrary number on it because I want to be honest with people.

“Right now, our number one challenge is getting a grip on the number of illegal migrants coming. That’s the thing I want to focus on first.

“It’s what the British public want us to focus on. Our deal with the French this week is the first in a series of things we’ll need to do.

“People should rest assured that this is a huge priority for me, and [it is] taking up a lot of my time.” YAHOO

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