Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Rishi Sunak will meet on Wednesday at the G20 Summit in Bali during which the two leaders will confirm “a new bespoke, reciprocal route” that will open in early 2023 to give young professionals a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a professional and cultural exchange.
Hours after Sunak and Modi met on the sidelines of the summit on Tuesday, the British Prime Minister announced that 3,000 Indians will be granted visas annually to come to the UK.
Under the new UK-India Young Professionals Scheme, the country will offer 3,000 places annually to 18-30-year-old degree-educated Indian nationals to come to the UK to live and work here for up to two years.
According to a statement issued by the UK Prime Minister’s Office, India is the first visa-national country to benefit from such a scheme, highlighting the strength of the UK-India Migration and Mobility Partnership agreed upon last year.
“The Indo-Pacific is increasingly crucial for our security and our prosperity. It is teeming with dynamic and fast-growing economies, and the next decade will be defined by what happens in this region,” Sunak said in a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“I know first-hand the incredible value of the deep cultural and historic ties we have with India. I am pleased that even more of India’s brightest young people will now have the opportunity to experience all that life in the UK has to offer, and vice-versa, making our economies and societies richer.”
The scheme will be reciprocal.
“The launch of the scheme is a significant moment both for the bilateral relationship with India and the UK’s wider commitment to forging stronger links with the Indo-Pacific region to strengthen both the economies,” the statement added.
Nearly a quarter of all international students in Britain are from India, and Indian investment in the UK supports 95,000 jobs across the UK.
The UK is also negotiating a trade deal with India, which would build on the UK-India trading relationship, already worth 24 billion pounds, and allow the UK to seize the opportunities presented by India’s growing economy.
Besides Modi, Sunak is also scheduled will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, becoming the first British Prime Minister to meet the latter in almost five years.
He will be clear on the need for China and the UK, as permanent members of the UN Security Council and major global economies, to establish a frank and constructive relationship.