by Rakib Ehsan
Thursday, 13
October 2022
Debate
07:00

Suella Braverman is right about Indian migrants

The UK's immigration system should not be a pawn in trade negotiations
by Rakib Ehsan
Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Credit: Getty

With The Times reporting that Liz Truss’s flagship UK-India trade deal is in danger after Home Secretary Suella Braverman supposedly angered Indian ministers over her comments on “visa overstayers” from their country, a fault-line has emerged at the heart of government. 

As part of both her domestic “pro-growth” agenda and post-Brexit “Global Britain” internationalism, Truss has entertained the possibility of further liberalising the UK’s immigration rules for Indian citizens.

This follows on from figures that showed that from 2019 to 2021, the number of Indian citizens granted a “skilled work visa” rose by 14%. When it comes to sponsored study visas from 2019 to 2021, this has risen by an astonishing amount for Indian nationals —164%. A total of 98,747 Indian nationals were granted sponsored study visas by the UK in 2021, with a further 64,839 on skilled-work visas.

Braverman went on record to express concerns over Truss’s plans, telling The Spectator: “I do have some reservations. Look at migration in this country — the largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants.” Sources from both governments have reportedly told The Times that the Home Secretary’s comments sparked a furious reaction from Indian government ministers and officials. 

However, there is much reason to be concerned over the liberalisation of the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system for Indian nationals. One of the motivating factors behind the Brexit vote was the freedom of movement for EU nationals. But it appears that the Indian government has linked freedom of movement for Indian nationals to the viability of any trade agreement. 

Liberalising access to Indian markets for British scotch whisky and reducing barriers for Indian basmati rice and spices exported to the UK can be a mutually beneficial trade development. And India is undoubtedly a strategically important partner in the post-Brexit international system — especially when it comes to defence and security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. This is one of the five pillars of the UK-India “Roadmap 2030” which also envisages the two countries working closer together over cyber-related threats. 

But recent sociopolitical developments in India mean that the UK should tread carefully when it comes to liberalising migration arrangements with the world’s second-most populous nation — nor should it take lectures from the Indian government on matters of social cohesion in places such as Leicester. 

India is considered to be only a ‘partly free’ country by American non-profit Freedom House. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2021 Democracy Index report concluded that there has been “a serious deterioration in the quality of democracy under leader Narendra Modi, whose Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has presided over increased intolerance and sectarianism towards Muslims and other religious minorities.” Indeed, charity Open Doors UK has placed India in the top ten nations of the world when it comes to the persecution of Christian minorities.

The UK should be in the business of deepening its trading ties, security relations and defence co-operation with India. However, post-Brexit foreign policy should not include the promise of liberalising the UK’s immigration system when in trade negotiations with governments whose own record on preserving democracy is questionable, and whose nations are frequently hotbeds of sectarian hatred. As well as disincentivising much-needed investment in Britain’s domestic workforce, it has the potential to threaten social unity in our country.

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Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago

Jeez if Truss waves through a trade deal with India that allows more liberal immigration rules she might as well shut down Tory HQ forever.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

She’ll have to. The Indians have been linking easier immigration as a quid pro quo for a trade deal for the last couple of years; that has been widely reported, nothing new there.  And India has the greater negotiating clout.
See:
https://ayenaw.com/2022/01/03/the-great-brexit-immigration-u-turn-vote-brexit-for-more-immigrants/
“Taking back control” lol – the great Brexit car-crash continues.
The only way to clamp down on immigration is to abandon being a mercantile nation, withdraw from everything, and try to have a closed economy.
Good luck with that lol.
Brexit is great spectator sport, as reality keeps getting in the way of the Farage-fantasy.  

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Desperate stuff.. no, not by the Government, but by commentators who still don’t get the simple difference between illegal immigration and controlled immigration of workers to fill gaps in the economy.
Remoaner-watching is the far superior sport; always was, always will be.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yeah Frank can’t seem to tell the difference between rules based immigration and a free for all – like the EU until it decided it couldn’t accept any more Muslims.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

It’s a choice isn’t it?. Japan has decided not to be a nation of mass migration, we unfortunately have, with baleful consequences for social cohesion. It is pretty amazing to to be thinking of further liberalisation when we have ethnic riots going on in Leicester, directly imported from the sub continent. I like and am fascinated by India, but the very fact that it is so much poorer (per capita) and so much larger than Britain should make it obvious we should not have any treaty allowing ‘free movement’ of its citizens into the UK

The population of the UK has grown by millions in recent years, the vast majority due to immigration- direct effects – the immigration, and indirect, their having children. Can I just ask, is there ANY limit you would put on immigration to this country? I usually notice a distinct reluctance to answer this from pro immigration people.

The single biggest reason for the breakdown in trust with the political system is that this enormous demographic transformation has happened without public consent and indeed in the teeth of opposition. The Tories in particular while saying they were going to radically reduce numbers, have either been incompetent or too internally divided to do anything to reduce the numbers (which extraordinary have increased since Brexit).

I live in London, have no problems with an ethnically diverse population, but even I am getting a bit fed up of endlessly encountering foreign born people in so many economic and social interactions.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Even though it hurts future migrants like me and I risk being labelled a hypocrite for saying so, I think Truss needs to cut down immigrants. It’s silly to see large parts of London where there are practically no English.

One thing that offends me though is how someone gets away with slandering Indian migrants by implying they are “overstayers”. The bulk of Indian migrants are highly educated, heavily represented in critical sectors like NHS or IT, generally enjoy Brit culture, learn the language (all of which should be expected of immigrants)

That doesn’t mean you wave through hordes of Indian migrants. But it does irritate that lower quality cohorts of largely illegal immigrants, with lower education and who tend not to assimilate – whether US or Europe – have to be treated as if they are doing the Western countries a favour.

amit kapoor
amit kapoor
1 month ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Any idea why you are not able to develop India and have to take all the trouble to develop UK which is already a developed country.

0 0
0 0
1 month ago
Reply to  amit kapoor

Yes, I have the “idea”.
The corrupt job reservation system of India where 50% of the jobs are reserved, unbelievably, for the meritless belonging to the castes, more accurately called the New-Brahmins . under the Reserved Quota. This Quota is 69% in the Province of Tamilnadu.
And the remainder 50% of the jobs are still available to the merited New-Brahmins who compete for those jobs with the merited New-UnBrahmins, leaving virtually no jobs for the New-UnBrahmins , the brightest of whom are leaving the country in droves.
They now form the richest ethnic group by family income in the USA.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_United_States_by_household_income#Asian_Americans
The same table shows that the Bangladeshis earn 1/2 as much and the Pakistanis earn 2/3rd compared to the Indians, the only major difference being the religion.
Some of the best-known U.S. tech companies are led by the New-UnBrahmins Indian CEOs, including:
  Twitter by Parag Agrawal
  Alphabet by Sundar Pichai
  Microsoft by Satya Nadella
  QuantumScape by Jagdeep Singh
  Palo Alto Networks by Nikesh Arora
  Arista Networks by Jayshree Ullal
  Adobe by Shantanu Narayen
  IBM by Arvind Krishna
  Micron by Sanjay Mehrotra
  VMWare by Raghu Raghuraman
  Vimeo by Anjali Sud
It is easy to control the Immigrants from India by making the Overstayers pay an extremely severe penalty.
I allege that the author is a jealous Muslim Hinduphobe who knows that the (non-Muslim) immigrants from India do extremely well for the countries where they go and wishes everyone to overlook that fact by deliberate distractions.
They do not behead. They do not ask for special laws. They do not groom teenagers.
His hate for Narendra Modi has nothing to do with what is in the U.K.’s best interest.
Penalize Indians heavily if they overstay.
The current Prime Minister of Denmark knows the difference between good immigrants and bad infiltrants. Here is one proof:
https://youtu.be/tMBt4Am0RUw?t=401

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 month ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

If the claim it’s based on clear evidence, it is not slander, is it? Braverman seemed to use quite measured language, she wasn’t demonising Indian students, and of course is herself from a migrant background.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Of all the immigrants to the UK, Indian diaspora contribute the most to the UK economy. They mostly pay their taxes and integrate easily. I have even become fond of British cuisine over the years! It is not papadum and curry every night, you know.

amit kapoor
amit kapoor
1 month ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

Ya go back to India and develop India which is one of the poorest countries in the world

0 0
0 0
1 month ago
Reply to  amit kapoor

This is doubly true for Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

Naren Savani
Naren Savani
1 month ago

Might be a good idea to analyse which countries immigrants increase economic growth and which countries immigrants have been a drain on the exchequer for many decades.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
1 month ago
Reply to  Naren Savani

We all know the answer.

0 0
0 0
1 month ago
Reply to  Naren Savani

They now form the richest ethnic group by family income in the USA.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_United_States_by_household_income#Asian_Americans
The same table shows that the Bangladeshis earn 1/2 as much and the Pakistanis earn 2/3rd compared to the Indians, the only major difference being the religion.
Some of the best-known U.S. tech companies are led by the Indian CEOs, including:
  Twitter by Parag Agrawal
  Alphabet by Sundar Pichai
  Microsoft by Satya Nadella
  QuantumScape by Jagdeep Singh
  Palo Alto Networks by Nikesh Arora
  Arista Networks by Jayshree Ullal
  Adobe by Shantanu Narayen
  IBM by Arvind Krishna
  Micron by Sanjay Mehrotra
  VMWare by Raghu Raghuraman
  Vimeo by Anjali Sud
It is easy to control the Immigrants from India by making the Overstayers pay an extremely severe penalty.

Last edited 1 month ago by 0 0
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 month ago

The continuing islamophobia smear against Modi. What they really hate is that he’s an economic reformer and successful inasfar as any reforms can be made in India.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago

India should and must be our most precious ally: Indian people are our most succesful immigrants in every facet of life that they turn their phenomenally able hands to.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 month ago

I would say the dynamics are similar to EU – enjoy a trade deal with us, in exchange for accepted immigrants from our countries.

And as an Indian, I can appreciate the British position and I think the Truss govt are right in the sense that the UK electorate voted for lower immigration, but it’s of course a hard economic choice.

If anything India as a nation might benefit as well, though it sucks for future migrants like me. Right now, India loses a lot of brainpower and trained talent to the West. And in return, India gets millions of unskilled, illegal Bangladeshis who chose to separate in 1947 and who clearly don’t agree with Indian culture.

Joy Bailey
Joy Bailey
1 month ago

India is certainly punishing UK visitors. I’ve had to move my holiday from November to February because it’s impossible to get a visa in time, though we started the procedure at the beginning of September. My husband, who is Australian, got an e-visa in 24 hours

Last edited 1 month ago by Joy Bailey
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 month ago
Reply to  Joy Bailey

It is the kind of brain-dead move (and this is from both sides) that only governments and government employees can do. Reduce UK tourist traffic, inconvenience Indian origin people, all so that UK and India can play king of the castle.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago

If Truss can stop the Channel traffic she’ll be able to get away with anything.

0 0
0 0
1 month ago

No basis for Rakib’s claims.
“There are no issues with higher immigration but discussions are going on for three-year visas for intra-corporate transferees in the service sector which are called mobility issues,” the source said.
Indian official dismisses report trade deal with UK on ‘verge of collapse’ over Suella Braverman comments | The Independent

Last edited 1 month ago by 0 0
Siddhesh Noa
Siddhesh Noa
1 month ago

!

Last edited 1 month ago by Siddhesh Noa
Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
1 month ago

It is high time that the Indian government is called out for its anti-Muslim, anti-democratic jingoism.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
1 month ago

Just go and visit India yourself and try to see what this anti-muslim jingoism is? You will be surprised to see it being manufactured for the western media by the interested parties. There is lots money to be made in creating this false narrative…

Andy Martin
Andy Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

Replying to Walter.
Of course in India, adherents to the Religion of Peace (Muslims) are the most tolerant people on earth and are entire blameless for all the sectarian strife in India.

amit kapoor
amit kapoor
1 month ago

The funny part is these RSS and VHP type of Indians who are lynching Muslims and burning thier houses are the first people to migrate to UK. So much of patriotism

venkat T
venkat T
1 month ago

Looks like you have never been to India? You have never heard the call for prayer blare out 5x a day for eg. Try doing it in any of the secular countries. The government also pays any low income Muslim to visit Mecca with tax payers money. Does this happen anywhere else ?
Most Indians are fine with it. It’s just upsetting when people write nonsense without getting their facts

Naren Savani
Naren Savani
1 month ago

Might help if you stopped relying on the Guardian for your views