There was bonding over cricket, a strong statement against terror and a walk around Hyderabad House when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UK Prime Minister Theresa May met. Yet the issues of mobility—and visas for students—are still a work in progress.
Business travellers, however, have been offered a little bit of leeway. Two new programmes introduced only for them. “We are the first visa country to be offered the Registered Traveller Scheme, offering business travellers expedited clearance at the UK border,'' said joint secretary Randhir Jaiswal, joint secretary Europe West Division.
The Indian Government will become the first government in the world to be invited to nominate business executives to the Great Club, a bespoke visa and immigration service. These measures found their place in the joint statement. “The two Prime Ministers welcomed these changes, which will mean that India will have one of the best UK visa services of any country in the world, with more application points than anywhere else and the only place where you can get a same day visa, reflecting the UK Government's commitment to continuing to attract inward investment and business from India,'' the joint statement read.
While it doesn't seem that the UK will do much about tightening restrictions on Indian student visas—the number of Indian students attending UK Universities have halved—the government is hopeful that it is an issue that can be worked out. May in a statement has said that nine out of ten Indian students are accepted. And it seems for the time being Indian students may not find any reprieve.
The other rather touchy issue of returnees—those who have over stayed their visas—also came up. India has agreed to issue travel documents but want to conduct their own verification process. The UK, however, wanted India to act on their own verification. “Both countries agreed to strengthen co-operation in this area by implementing an expedited process for verifying the nationality and issuing travel documents,'' the joint statement said.