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Britain to ease visa norms
BS Bureau in Mumbai |
February 13, 2003 12:11 IST
The United Kingdom is easing visa norms to allow more infotech professionals into the country.
The British government would soon open offices in the four metros as well Bangalore, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Jalandhar and Ahmedabad to smooth the visa process, said Nigel Griffiths, UK's minister for small business, who was in India to meet potential investors.
The relaxation in visa norms comes at a time when the US, the largest foreign workplace for Indian infotech professionals, is becoming more stringent in issuing H1B work permit visas.
The minister also emphasised that unlike other Western countries, Britain would not cap the number of infotech professionals or other business executives visiting the country.
Griffiths said a notable trend in the past year had been the emergence of India as a significant investor in the UK. A string of infotech companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Mastek as well as old-economy companies like Reliance, ITC, Thermax and Dabur have invested in the UK.
The minister said among other measures, the British High Commission in India would introduce a Business Express programme where employers could procure visas for their staff travelling to the UK without a personal appearance.
The UK government will also be more liberal in issuing multi-entry visas valid for up to 10 years.
"We want to encourage Indian companies wanting to do business with or in the UK and will not prevent the exchange of infotech professionals. We want Indian companies to come to the UK because there is a huge business potential there," Griffiths added.However, the UK government was especially keen to attract Indian infotech companies, the minister said.