The country keen on supporting start-up companies, SMEs

The U.K. (United Kingdom) Visa Application Centre in Kochi will soon have a passport pass-back service offering visa aspirants the flexibility of retaining their passport for most of the application-processing period.

The centre is moving to a bigger, better office equipped to offer more services, British Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai Bharat Joshi said here on Wednesday. Explaining the convenience of the passport pass-back service, he said, “People who want to go to the U.K. may also want to go to the U.S. and Europe. They can take back the passport submitted along with the application, get the other visa and come back later to collect their U.K. visa.”

The new visa application centre at Kochi is scheduled to be opened on Friday.

Mr. Joshi was here to inaugurate the Thiruvananthapuram edition of the Great British Festival in Kerala, an event organised to promote business relations between the U.K. and Kerala and support entrepreneurship and innovation. Addressing the media after the event, he said the U.K. was keen on supporting start-up companies and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in Kerala and deepening the cooperation between educational institutions in Britain and Kerala.

“There is much more we can do to bring more U.K. companies to this State. Kerala has changed a lot in the last few years. Today, there are over 30 U.K. companies in Kerala, mainly in the ICT and manufacturing sectors.”

Mr. Joshi stressed the need to deepen and widen the cooperation between educational institutions in the U.K. and Kerala. “We already have U.K. universities working and training institutes and universities in Kerala. There is much more we can do to promote that. Companies in the U.K. can offer internships for students to help them get a feel of the workplace.”