New Delhi:In a major move creating a 'new scheme' for exchange of young professionals with those Indians in distress in the United Kingdom, India and Britain on Tuesday, May 4 inked an agreement on migration and mobility partnership.
The MoU creates a new scheme for exchange of young professionals under which every year upto 3000 young Indian professionals can avail the benefits.
Under this, young Indian professionals can avail employment opportunities in the UK for a period of two years without being subject to labour market tests.
"It is our solemn duty that Indian nationals who are undocumented, or are in distress abroad and not being given nationality or residence permits, have to be taken back," Joint Secretary in the Europe West division in the Ministry of External Affairs, Sandeep Chakravorty, told reporters here.
Documents submitted to a British parliamentary panel in 2018 have said that India accounted for the largest number of individuals staying in the UK illegally. There has also been the problem of “visa overstayers”.
The number of those subjected to forced returns to India had fallen by 50 percent.
The pact was inked on May 4 between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel in London ahead of a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson.
The MoU on Migration and Mobility Partnership will facilitate legal movement of students and professionals and also enhance cooperation between India and the UK in combating illegal migration.
The pact would thus help provide enhanced employment opportunities for 3,000 young Indian professionals annually, in return for India agreeing to take back any of its citizens who are living illegally in the United Kingdom.
Britain’s interior ministry said that the deal aimed to attract "the best and brightest, and supporting people comingto the UK through legal routes".This would also stop the 'abuse' of the system and speeding up the removal of those who have no right to be in the UK.
A joint statement issued after the Modi-Johnson talks said the two leaders welcomed the signing of the migration and mobility partnership. They also expressed confidence in the benefits it will have in facilitating the legal movement of students and professionals.
The move is also aimed at combating illegal migration and “organised immigration crime”.
Joint Secretary 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," he said adding India is against illegal migration.
“So the migration and mobility partnership is a comprehensive document where we will take back Indian nationals,” he said.
In 2018 one such pact had met with hurdles. Migration of course is a reason of tension and friction between the two countries.
Britain had claimed three years back that there were as many as 100,000 Indians living illegally in the UK, though sources in Indian government had dismissed the figure.