India-UK Free Trade Agreement: India Pushes For Student Visa Relaxations


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on May 08, 2023 12:10 PM IST

India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations have been in progress since 2018. These India-UK FTA negotiations have shown steady beneficial progress and are expected to wrap up shortly with the approval of the UK’s new federal government. Find more details below.

India-UK Free Trade Agreement: India Pushes For Student Visa Relaxations

As India's second-largest commercial partner in the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom's second-busiest customer base for goods outside Europe, India and the UK have traditionally maintained close economic ties. Most recently, India and the UK began a fresh round of negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which might have numerous benefits for both nations. 

India's requests for greater accessibility to the UK's job market and educational system have been one of the primary discussion subject matter in the negotiations. India has petitioned the country to loosen its UK student visa prerequisites as well as other visa constraints to grant a greater number of graduate route visas to Indian employees.

However, owing to concerns regarding immigration levels, the UK remains cautious to do so. The question of India's substantial tariffs on goods from the UK, which make it challenging for British businesses to establish themselves in the Indian market, was also brought up. 

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Further, the India-UK trade deal might have a big impact on international education between the two nations. India sends an impressive amount of students to the country each academic year, and a free trade deal could potentially make it simpler for Indian students to study in the UK and vice versa.

As one of the noteworthy benefits of the India-UK FTA, it may be possible to minimise educational expenses like tuition fees for Indian students. Ultimately, it will lower the cost of attending UK universities and increase its accessibility to Indian students, who now pay hefty tuition fees including the cost of living in the UK

Furthermore, the country might provide more scholarships to study in the UK and other forms of financial aid to Indian students. This, in return, could encourage more of them to pursue higher education in the country. A pact with India might open up new doors for British business entities to enter the rapidly expanding Indian market.  

On the flip side of the coin, UK-India free trade agreement might also make it difficult for UK education institutions to compete with Indian universities. Indian colleges may become more alluring to UK students if they are able to provide degrees that are on par with those offered in the UK while simultaneously levying lower tuition fees. Additionally, it might encourage more joint research initiatives between universities in India and the UK, which would be profitable to both nations.

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By the year 2030, the Indian economy is projected to surpass China as the third-largest worldwide, attributable to the nation's expanding middle class and expanding standard of living. Dealing with the UK could open up new doors for Indian companies to enter the UK market, regarded as the largest and most technologically advanced across the globe.

As a whole, the terms of the deal and the legislation put in place by both nations will determine how the India-UK FTA negotiations will affect international education. A fruitful agreement, however, might result in higher-profile chances for Indian and UK students to pursue their studies together and interact, which might be beneficial for both nations in the long term.

Source: Financial Express

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