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India to push for relaxed visa rules to UK

India is set to press for a relaxation in visa rules and the easing of restrictions on the movement of professionals from India to the UK. The matter is expected to be discussed when the UK's Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke meets with Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.

Both parties will discuss measures to boost trade between the two countries, with migration being a pressing issue for the Indian side. The cap on non-EU UK immigration continues to be a cause of concern for Indians. This has affected trade relations between the two countries.

"These measures are likely to reduce access of skilled Indians to the UK and further restrict the flow of human capital there," an Indian government official told the Financial Express.

"Such a move will further impact the profit margins, competitiveness and also the viability of Indian companies and Indian skilled workers," the official added.

India is one of the countries hardest hit by recent restrictions on UK immigration. Many Indian professionals in sectors susch as health care, IT, and engineering came to the UK under the now-defunct Tier 1 (General) visa. The visa was replaced by the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa, which is almost impossible to qualify for and is capped at 1,000 per year.

The UK is the third largest trading partner of India. In 2010-11, trade between both countries grew by over 15%.