British Prime Minister Theresa May signals flexibility on visas for Indians

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British Prime Minister Theresa May with PM Narendra Modi
British Prime Minister Theresa May with PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi : British Prime Minister Theresa May offered India an improved visa deal, as the two countries initiated talks on boosting trading.

Theresa May, who is on her first bilateral trip outside Europe ever since Britons voted on June 23 to quit the bloc, described as ‘limitless’ the potential of the relationship with India and its market of 1.3 billion people.

May attached a condition to a better deal, however progress in sending home Indians who have outstayed their visas

"The UK will consider further improvements to our visa offer if, at the same time, we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain," May told reporters in New Delhi after holding talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to a source improvements would be about the visa process, cost and speed, rather than criteria applicants must meet.

"We believe that such a group should not only focus on ways to increase trade in goods, but also on the expansion of services trade, including through greater mobility of skilled professionals," said PM Modi while addressing the reporters.

However, Indian officials said the tightening of visa rules was responsible for a sharp decline in the number of Indian students enrolling in British universities.

Earlier on Monday, Modi and May inaugurated a technology summit to boost trade in advanced scientific and technology businesses.

The talks between the two leaders focused on bringing down trade barriers and preparing the ground for a free-trade deal after Britain leaves the EU.