In a rather important development, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), allegedly, to simplify the return of the so-called unlawful immigrants of the Indian origin from Britain has not been reportedly signed by the Indian Premier Narendra Modi. The reason: the UK has allegedly not made its visa policies easier.
The incumbent British Premier Theresa May informed Modi a year ago, in 2017, that the European country would mull making some improvements to its visa offer for the Indians. However, in view of no headway from the UK’s side, Modi reportedly declined to sign the agreement during his recent April trip to the country.
As per the available information, the bilateral agreement on the return of the so-called unlawful Indians, which Kiren Rijiju, the Indian junior Home Minister, had drafted in January, was not inked because since, as mentioned before, India did not find any headway on the British side of the deal.
Significantly, the accord was thought to be the core bilateral agreement inked during the Indian PM’s trip.
What would have been the outcome had the MoU been signed?
Had it been so, the MoU would have guaranteed the return of the unlawful immigrants to India post the Indian High Commission in London recognized them. The same would have also assisted the police of the involved two nations with data on lawbreakers and sex-offenders.
Why India put its foot down?
Even as worries of mass exile and likely security breaches have been given as possible causes behind PM Modi’s denial, as per the sources, the actual reason was that London provides an unfriendly atmosphere. Contrary to May’s pledge, New Delhi didn’t find any positive development from London’s side in the deal while the rejection of spousal visas and revoking visas on minor grounds continued.
UK assertions of Indian unlawful-immigrants challenged
London reportedly alleges that the largest chunk of Illegal migrants comes from India and their number stands between 75,000 and 1, 0,000. India denies the claim vehemently even while as per certain agencies from India, the number of such immigrants is not above 2,000.
Of late, it has been reportedly found that barely 4,600 global students are overstaying their visa in the UK at a time when, on the basis of an International Passenger Survey, UK claims the number stands over 1, 00,000.
London has a lot at stake with this agreement
Though via giving Indians comparatively easier access to visas, the likelihood of London brokering a free trade agreement with New Delhi in the wake of Brexit cannot be ruled out completely, its unwillingness to treat Indians at par and give them identical treatment as Chinese (it provides them with two-year multiple-entry visit-visa) has reportedly not gone down well with many.
Is there any possibility of the MoU being inked?
The expectations of the European nation about action on the banned immigrants are more than what India is presently ready to pledge. The concerned Indian authorities are reportedly perturbed that a large number of Indian citizens would be forced to leave the UK, minus any ‘humanitarian consideration’. Till this and other such fears are positively resolved, New Delhi doesn’t reportedly appear interested.