May in Bengaluru

Immigration policy, trade, tourism dominate Siddu's talks with May

Siddu-May Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah welcoming Britain PM Theresa May on her maiden visit to Bengaluru

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday urged the United Kingdom to consider migration of skilled tech workers from India to the country as a trade priority rather than an immigration issue.

Siddaramaiah, who received UK Prime Minister Theresa May at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, underlined the importance of an effective immigration policy for the fast growth of India's high-value sectors.

Noting that there is a need to minimise barriers in the flow of talented people to the UK, the chief minister said an effective immigration policy should be in place to attract high-skilled workers. “The movement of skilled tech workers from India should be seen as a trade priority rather than an immigration issue. Temporary placement of highly-skilled individuals in the UK provides a significant economic boost while having a negligible impact on net migration,” he added.

The CM also requested the UK to review the new policy to continue the earlier salary threshold.

Under the new visa rules announced by the UK Home Office, anyone applying after November 24 under the Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) category would be required to meet a higher salary threshold of 30,000 pounds from the earlier 20,800 pounds.

Expressing delight over the UK PM choosing Bengaluru as the first city to visit outside Delhi, Siddaramaiah pointed out that 15 per cent of UK based companies in India were in Karnataka, employing 23,000 people.

"We seek investments from UK based firms in renewable energy and for creating smart cities. The strength of UK research and innovation and the implementation capabilities of Karnataka will help foster stronger ties. Many Karnataka based companies such as Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Dynamatic Technologies, Biocon and Microlabs continue to expand their presence and create jobs in the UK," said the chief minister.

Elaborating on the investment areas, Siddaramaiah emphasised on identifying opportunities for the UK to work with the state in the upcoming Bengaluru-Mumbai Economic Corridor where three greenfield self-contained townships will be set up. "We can work towards creating next generation logistics, infrastructure and connectivity across fast growing regions of southern and western India," he said, extending invitation for the Aero India show to be held in Bengaluru in February 2017.

Karnataka is home to the world heritage site Hampi, Gol Gumbaz of Vijayapura—a medieval architectural marvel, the world famous Mysuru Dasara festival, lush evergreen forests and rich bio diversity, and has the largest number of tigers in the world, the chief minister said, elaborating on the tourism potential of the state.

The CM expressed hopes that manufacturing, research and development in medical devices and equipment would take off at the earliest if the setting up of the UK Health City Project at Dharwad (across 400 acres) is expedited. He also sought collaboration in boosting maternal and child nutrition and higher education in public health and healthcare.   

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