New Delhi, May 4
India and the UK on Tuesday launched a comprehensive partnership on migration and mobility that will provide for enhanced employment opportunities for around 3,000 Indian professionals annually, but those staying illegally may have to leave Britain.
The pact was inked between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel ahead of a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson.
At a media briefing, the Joint Secretary in the Europe West division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Sandeep Chakravorty, said Indian nationals who are undocumented or are in distress abroad and not being given nationality or residence permits have to be taken back.
He was responding to a question on whether the UK has asked India to take back illegal migrants in return for increasing visas for young Indian professionals.
A joint statement issued after the Modi-Johnson talks said the two leaders welcomed the signing of the migration and mobility partnership and expressed confidence in the benefits it will have in facilitating the legal movement of students and professionals, and combating illegal migration and “organised immigration crime”.
In a document, the MEA mentioned that the partnership will create a new scheme for the exchange of young professionals under which up to 3000 young Indian professionals annually can avail employment opportunities in the UK for a period of two years without being subjected to labour market tests.
Chakravorty said India is against illegal migration as it “prejudices legal migration”.
“The migration and mobility partnership is a very comprehensive document. India never encourages illegal migration, we are against illegal migration because that prejudices legal migration.
“So the migration and mobility partnership is a comprehensive document where we will take back Indian nationals,” he said.
However, more than that it creates opportunities for legal migration, he asserted.
“It is our solemn duty that Indian nationals who are undocumented or are in distress abroad, and are not being given nationality or resident permit, have to be taken back and I think we will do that,” he added.
“I think this agreement systematises that, but more than that it creates opportunities for legal migration and I think that is the aspect we would like to focus on.
“We would be very much keen to see that the numbers that have been offered by the UK are increased in the future and a large number of Indian professionals find opportunities in the UK,” the joint secretary added. PTI
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