Tuesday 4 May 2021 4:05 pm

India to take back illegal migrants in return for more UK visas

The UK and India today reached an agreement on migration and mobility between the two countries as they looked to deepen economic ties following Brexit.

The pact will provide more employment opportunities for 3,000 young Indian professionals annually, in return for the country agreeing to take back its citizens who are living illegally in the UK.

“It is our solemn duty that Indian nationals who are undocumented or are in distress abroad and not being given nationality or residence permits, have to be taken back,” Indian foreign ministry official Sandeep Chakravorty told a news conference.

Migration has long been a source of friction between the two countries, with a similar proposal collapsing in 2018 due to disagreements.

At the time, London claimed there were as many as 100,000 Indians living illegally in the UK, though New Delhi disputes this figure.

Tens of thousands of Indians study in the UK each year, and New Delhi has complained about a lack of job opportunities available to them when they finish their studies.

The migration pact came after the two countries announced £1bn of private-sector investment.

Talks on a full trade deal are set to begin in the autumn.

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Countries agree on roadmap to tackle climate change by 2030

Britain also said it had agreed on plans with India to combat climate change by 2030, including protecting forests and working together on the clean energy transition.

The move comes as the UK prepares to host the COP26 UN Climate Summit later this year.

“The UK and India share a longstanding partnership and I am greatly encouraged by the steps we have taken today to bolster our joint efforts on tackling climate change,” said COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma.

Boris Johnson and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed off on a new shared roadmap during their virtual meeting that includes measures to help limit global temperature rises.

The UK and India have also welcomed climate action by businesses and encouraged other companies to follow suit.

Read more: COP26: Public backs Government climate drive but some fear the cost