Last year, the Union Cabinet had approved the pact on returns to facilitate the deportation of alleged illegal Indian immigrants in the UK to India and vice-versa.
India on Monday asked Britain to ensure that students from the country do not face any visa issues and their rights be protected there, officials said. In a meeting, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla spoke to Director General for Borders, Immigration, Citizenship and International Strategy at UK Home Office Glyn Williams regarding this. Bhalla told Williams that there were instances when Indian students faced visa-related problems in Britain, an official of the Home Ministry said. In the delegation-level talks, both sides discussed issues of mutual concern related to immigration and citizenship.
Kieran Drake, Minister Counsellor, Political and Press in the British High Commission in New Delhi, who was part of the UK delegation, said they had wide-ranging discussions. “It was a productive meeting,” he said. Last year, India was excluded from Tier 4 overseas student visa relaxations unveiled by the UK Home Office. The move had triggered outrage among Indian student groups in Britain and other leading figures within the bilateral space, including some branding it an “insult” to India by including non-democratic countries on the list but excluding the world’s largest democracy.
The UK government had then directly linked the exclusion of Indian students from the list of countries offered easier visa norms to India’s refusal to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the return of illegal migrants. Last year, the Union Cabinet had approved the pact on returns to facilitate the deportation of alleged illegal Indian immigrants in the UK to India and vice-versa. However, at the eleventh hour, India did not sign the pact without specifying any reasons.