Sharma raises work permits issue with U.K.

Hasan Suroor

New rules will affect IT professionals

LONDON: Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma has conveyed to the British Government Indian concerns over new immigration rules, which will place restrictions on issuing work permits to workers from outside the European Union.

Mr. Sharma, on a three-day visit here, raised the issue during a meeting with Digby Jones, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, on Friday.

Details were not known but he was reported to have put across to Lord Jones the views of NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies), which believes that the proposed rules will adversely affect IT professionals wanting to work in Britain.

A spokesperson of the Indian High Commission said: “The concerns expressed by NASSCOM on revisions to U.K work permits regulations were conveyed to Lord Jones, who offered to coordinate an appropriate response by the U.K. Government to meet NASSCOM’s concerns.”

Mr. Sharma also met Ed Milband, Minister in the Cabinet Office, and discussed bilateral relations.


On Saturday, in a speech in Cambridge, Mr. Sharma called for greater multilateralism in international relations pointing out that “no single country” had the capacity to provide sustainable solutions for the world’s many problems.

India strongly supported a multipolar world because it created the necessary “balance of interest amongst major powers.”

Rejecting a “unipolar arrangement,” Mr. Sharma said: “The sheer enormity of the problems facing the world impels us to work together and to develop a cooperative framework. The corollary to this approach is the need to strengthen multilateral institutions and mechanisms. Such an approach is indispensable to addressing global challenges which transcend national boundaries, such as terrorism, global warming, drug trafficking, pandemics such as HIV/AIDS.”

His remarks, while speaking at the Judge Business School, came amid growing criticism of America’s unilateral approach under the Bush administration.

Mr. Sharma said New Delhi “redefined” its relationship with Washington after “decades of lack of trust.”

But this was not at the cost of its relations with China or any other country, he pointed out stressing the independence of Indian foreign policy.

“While India has taken a bold initiative to forge a partnership with U.S., as demonstrated by the recently concluded civil nuclear cooperation agreement, it has also been steadily strengthening its ties with China both in terms of scope and extent.

In fact, India’s trading linkages with China have expanded rapidly over the last few years, making China the second largest trading partner of India next only to U.S.”

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