UK Minister to discuss immigration issues with India
Posted February 3rd, 2008
by Sahil Nagpal
The Hindustan Times
London, Feb 3: After British Prime Minister Gordon Brown discussed issues related to immigration rule with India, a six-member team led by British Immigration Minister Liam Byrne will visit India to discuss his government's proposed changes to immigration rules and the controversial new eligibility criteria for the Highly-Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP).
Byrne will also hold talks with multinational Indian companies and families of Indians settled in Britain.
Several immigration groups have protested against some of the proposals like reduction of the duration of tourist visas from the current six months to three months, and bar on family visits.
“I want Britain's different communities to help me design a system that is slicker and more secure. We've never taken this kind of approach to listening on such a set of changes, but I think it's the best way to get the answers right,” Byrne said.
Byrne is also expected to discuss the issue of around 30,000 Indian workers, who came to Britain under the HSMP.
Executive Director of the campaign group, HSMP Forum, Amit Kapadia has appealed Byrne to reconsider the changes that according to former had “devastated the lives of thousands of Indians”.
On January 30 this year, the UK Government had announced new immigration fees and funding sweeping changes to border security over the next 12 months.
According to the UK Government, the system will help ensure only workers with the skills to benefit Britain's economy come to the UK and put in place a licensing system for businesses who want to recruit from overseas.
Byrne had said: “We believe that it is fair that those who benefit most from using our immigration system should help fund it,” adding, “We welcome the contribution that legal migrants make to the economy and cultural life in the UK and we have ensured that these fees, which will usher in the biggest reforms to the immigration system in a generation, are at levels that will not damage our international competitiveness.” (ANI)