Visiting UK PM Theresa May faces heat to ease visa rules for Indians
Ahead of her visit to India on 6-8 November, Theresa May, British Prime Minister, would be facing pressure to consider easing visas for Indian nationals entering the United Kingdom.
When Xi Jinping, President of China, visited Britain last year, its government drastically cut the short-term visa fees for Chinese tourists. Following that decision, British business leaders began urging the government that similar treatment be accorded to short-term visitors from other countries like India as well.
Chandrajit Banerjee, the Director General of the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry), was quoted by the Financial Times as saying that he was hopeful of a similar policy being extended to India too ahead of Mrs. May’s visit to this South Asian country.
He expected the British Premier to slash the two-year visa fees from £330 to £87, the same rate at which Chinese are being offered visas now. Speaking on the behalf of the Indian industry, he said that they were very confident of this policy being announced.
Lord Bilimoria, Cobra Beer’s chairman, said that it would be the ‘best thing’ that Mrs. May could announce. This gesture would make the visit a major success, he added.
British business captains such as heads of the British Hospitality Association, Heathrow airport, Manchester airport, Virgin Atlantic and the Institute of Directors, among others, were signatories to a letter written in September urging their government to make the rates of tourist visas to India nationals cheaper.
According to them, although 2015 saw 400,000 Indian travellers visiting the UK and spending £433 million there, France had become the preferred European destination for them now.
The letter written to the Daily Telegraph said that in one decade, the number of Indian outbound travellers heading to the UK had fallen by 50 percent, even as the market registered a growth of 10 percent every year. If Britain had paid heed to this trend, their country would have hosted more than 800,000 Indian visitors per year, providing its economy close to £500 million worth of revenues and also creating employment to 8,000 Britons.
This was also endorsed by the Royal Commonwealth Society, which recommended that providing an affordable visa would be a nice gesture to celebrate the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 and also commemorating India’s 70th independence anniversary.
An official source was said to have been told that some ministers in the UK government also were keen to make it convenient for Indians to visit Britain.
If you are looking to travel to the UK, approach Mahandru Associates to get professional guidance and assistance to file for a tourist visa