Theresa May says she would consider relaxing Britain's visa restrictions for Indian citizens, but only if the return of those living here illegally is sped up.
Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, said:
"India’s position that a trade deal with Britain must include looser migration controls on Indian migrants is good news for Britain. A free trade deal with India that also made it easier for skilled Indian workers to come to Britain would be win/win for us, and be a real coup by making the UK the first major economy to strike a deal with India.
"More Indian immigration, especially more skilled immigration, would be great for Britain – India’s IT sector is booming, and making it easier for British firms to hire some of that talent would be a big boost to our own technology companies. And more flexibility about temporary work visas is essential to liberalising trade in services, where workers sometimes have to locate abroad for months to deal with a foreign client.
"The only barrier to this win/win outcome is political: the government’s crude migration cap, which does not differentiate between students and highly skilled migrants, who the public itself is relaxed about, and unskilled migrants. India is just another example of this cap making trade deals hard to negotiate: China, too, may demand freer movement in exchange for freer trade.
"The migration cap has turned into an albatross hanging around the government’s neck, and if we are to make Brexit a success it needs to be significantly reformed or, better yet, scrapped altogether."