New Delhi: Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday Britain will offer a new visa scheme for Indian investors. The British leader was addressing the inaugural ceremony of Indo-UK tech summit here.
“India will become the first visa country to be offered the Registered Traveller Scheme, offering business travellers expedited clearance at the UK border including through access to the e-Passport gates for those with biometric passports and no requirement to complete a landing card,” May said.
Only nine other countries currently benefit from the scheme. The new visa services are intended to improve business travel for Indian visitors to the UK.
“Britain is open for business and investment,” May said.
The British government will also offer a select group of high net worth Indians access to a bespoke visa and immigration service. The Indian Government will become the first government in the world to be invited to nominate top business executives to the Great Club, who will then be provided with a personal account manager to ensure that their journey through the visa and immigration service is swift and smooth and who can provide assistance for immediate family members.
These changes 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 Government’s commitment to continuing to attract inward investment and business from India, already the UK’s third largest inward investor with more Indian companies invested in the UK than the rest of the EU combined. In 2015-2016, Indian investment created 7,105 new jobs in the UK.
The Registered Traveller Scheme is currently available for nationals from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the US.
The new scheme reflects the British government’s commitment to strengthen trading ties with all corners of the globe as the UK leaves the EU and the benefits of foreign investment for regions up and down the country.
The Registered Travellers Scheme will initially be offered to Indians travelling on a work visa, with the possibility of rolling it out to other routes in the future. It is estimated that up to 10,000 Indians could benefit from it within the first 2 years. All members of the scheme are required to undergo advance security checks as part of the application process.
The UK issues more work-related visas to Indian nationals than the number issued to China, Australia and the US combined. More than a third of all work visas to the UK are issued to Indian nationals. Nine out of 10 of Indians who applied for a UK visa in the year ending June 2016 were successful.
(Anasudhin Azeez is the editor of Asian Lite daily in London. He is in India with British Prime Minister Theresa May’s delegation. He can be contacted at email@example.com)
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