Sajid Javid has dismissed perceptions that Indian students are not welcome in the UK, saying there is no restriction on the number of Indian students and they will get “a very very warm welcome”. Speaking at the India-UK Business Convention in New Delhi last Friday (11), the British secretary of state for business, innovation and skills said there was a perception issue, but the “perception is absolutely not the reality”. “There is absolutely no limit on the number of foreign students including India. Indian students can apply and come to the UK and study,” he said. “We hugely welcome the foreign students into the UK particularly from India because that goes back to the special relationship between the two countries. I can guarantee that any Indian students (who) comes to Britain will get a very very warm welcome.” The UK is one of the most sought after foreign education destinations for Indian students, but the number of young people coming to study in Britain has fallen in recent years because of stricter visa norms. “There is absolutely no cap at all, no restrictions on the number of Indians that can come and study in Britain ... we have clear rules that once you graduate from the UK, you can stay and work in the UK as long as there is a graduate level job and there is no cap, no restriction,” Javid added. He said UK universities and colleges were, in fact, inviting Indian students and unless Britain provided a proper visa regime, it would not be possible to attract them.
The minister was attending the annual business convention in New Delhi to boost UK trade ties in India. On the Vodafone tax controversy, Javid said “we are already working with the Indian government on this issue”. The government and Vodafone are locked in a multi-million-pound tax dispute and the two sides have decided to resolve the issue through arbitration. He said that international companies need clarity and less of the uncertainty and this helps them in investing in potential markets. “... I am absolutely sure that there is more capital sitting there offshore not just in Britain but around the world that would be happy to come to India,” he said.
The event, organised by the UK India Business Council, was held from last Thursday (10) to last Saturday (12) to celebrate the strength of the India-UK trade relationship. More than 600 delegates, international business leaders, and senior ministers from the UK and India participated across the three-day event.
“The United Kingdom and India are unique, indispensable partners, contributing greatly to each other’s growth and prosperity,” Javid said on the eve of his visit.
“The Sterling Assets report, launched by my colleague Lord Maude today, highlights the UK’s contribution to the Indian economy, which included the fact that UK companies are creating one in every 20 jobs in India’s organised private sector.
“We are in Mr Modi’s own words, an ‘unbeatable combination’. The UK has the expertise and resources to support many of the Indian government’s most important priorities, for example developing smart cities, science and innovation, green energy and improving the ease of doing business.
“Everyone is excited about Mr Modi’s visit to the UK later this year, where he can be assured of a first-class welcome,” Javid added.