Visa issues to be sorted through negotiations

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New Delhi, Apr 3 (UNI) British High Commissioner Sir Richard Stagg today said ''irritants in the issuance of visas'' will be sorted out through negotiations with India.

''Visa restrictions have come in the way of furthering economic ties. Irritants in the issuance of visas can be sorted out through negotiations,'' British High Commissioner to India Sir Richard Stagg told reporters here.

He added that his country has again started issuing visas for 10 years.

Britain had launched a new points-based visa regime on Tuesday for professionals and highly-skilled people from India wishing to migrate to the country.

India is the first country to get the new British visa regime, which will be extended to the rest of the world later in the year.

Under the new visa regime, applicants will need sufficient points to qualify. The new system has been designed to streamline the visa process for legitimate travellers.

Referring to the growing Indo-UK partnership in a range of areas including services and manufacturing, the High Commissioner said, ''to our reckoning, there are more than 500 Indian companies, which have invested in the UK and their number is increasing.'' He said the Tata-Land Rover deal was evidence of the strengthening ties between the two countries. ''Recent take-over of two famous car brands in Britain by an Indian company also echoes the growing economic relationship between the two countries,'' Sir Richard said.

There will be an increased focus on India for trade and investment and Sir Richard hopes to enhance bilateral economic relationship with the country.

''Britain is focusing on India for trade and investment, as never before, and I hope this will take the bilateral economic relationship to a new high,'' Sir Richard said.

The British government will create an enabling situation for private sectors of both countries to come together, do business and invest in each other's country, he added.

''To facilitate the two-way trade and investment flows, the trade and investment offices of Britain in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad can provide value-added information on investment procedures in Britain, potential partners, etc,'' Sir Richard said.

When asked about his views as to how to tide over the recurring global financial problems, Sir Richard said the international problems should have international solutions. ''No one country or a group of countries can find solutions to such problems,'' he said adding that the role of IMF as a regulator was more crucial in addressing such issues.

UNI SR MP PM1845

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