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johnson: Johnson dismisses visa link with India trade deal talks


LONDON: British PM Boris Johnson on Wednesday sought to dismiss the notion that visa norms are set to be relaxed for Indians in pursuit of a free trade agreement (FTA) with India. During the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons, Johnson was asked by one of his Conservative Party MP, Sir Edward Leigh, if a relaxation of visa controls from India was in the works. “I don’t recognise the account he’s given at all. We don’t do free trade deals on that basis,” said Johnson.
Leigh said in the Commons, “Apparently the government is thinking of relaxing visa controls from India in order to get a free trade deal. Whilst a free trade deal is valuable in itself, we should not be held to ransom.” “Would he agree with me that our new working class voters who voted Brexit did not vote to replace immigration from Europe with more immigration from the rest of the world…will he convince us that he is determined to connect to our supporters and control immigration,” he questioned.
His question follows reports that UK international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is expected to travel to New Delhi later this month to kick-start FTA talks and is expected to offer a visa scheme similar to that agreed as part of the UK’s FTA with Australia. Such a scheme would allow Indians the chance to come and work in the UK for up to three years. Another option reportedly being considered would be to cut visa fees for students and allow them to stay in Britain for a period after they graduate.

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