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Indian skilled workers, students welcome: UK

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Conceding that Indian-owned firms in UK have emerged as largest employers in the British manufacturing sector, Britain today said it welcomes skilled workers and students from India.

The issue of recent visa tightening by UK came for discussion between visiting UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable and Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma here.

"The issue which is now being discussed and consulted upon students... We welcome them...," Cable said.

He said that overseas students and skilled workers make contributions to British universities and economy.

"The economic contribution of the students is valuable as it has diversity, we welcome diversity," Cable said.

He said Indian-owned companies have emerged as the largest employer in the UK's manufacturing sector.

Last year, UK tightened rules for international students including from India. To get visa, they had set new measures like a good command over English and restricting the lowest-level courses only to the most trusted institutions.

Sharma said that Indian professionals have made enormous contribution in British economy.

"We have discussed the issue. Indian viewpoint and concerns have been fully registered and I appreciate and acknowledge that Mr Cable and his government have taken a positive view," Sharma said.

Cable chaired the meeting of the UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (Jetco) with Sharma.

Sharma said that the four working groups formed on -- innovation investment, education and skills development, logistics, advance manufacturing and engineering -- have met and recommended steps to increase cooperation in these areas, which Jetco has accepted.

"We have accepted (the groups recommendations), giving a time plan of the doables and the projects that will be jointly undertaken in the coming year 2011," he said.

Jetco was set up in 2005 to tackle trade and investment barriers on both sides and promote business links. The sixth Jetco meeting was held on February 4, last year in London.

On infrastructure sector, Cable said that Indian needs huge investment and "we have companies who are good in financing, project management and design."

On FDI in retail sector, the visiting minister, who was here for a three-day visit and accompanied by a 50-member business delegation, said that Indian polices are "rapidly" developing in the sector.

UK wants India to allow FDI in retail and defence sector.

The bilateral trade between the nations stood at $10.6 billion in 2009-10.

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First Published: Wed, January 19 2011. 19:04 IST