Britain seeks to reassure India over immigration cap

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Britain sought to reassure India on Wednesday over the impact of a proposed immigration cap that New Delhi has warned could hit trade between the countries.

British Immigration Minister Damian Green wrapped up a three-day trip to India on Wednesday, saying the cap on non-European Union migrants was aimed at bringing unregulated migration to "sustainable levels."

"I am convinced that we can achieve our objective of reducing migration to the United Kingdom, whilst driving forward our commitment to trade and inward investment," Green told reporters.

"We want to encourage to come to the United Kingdom the brightest and the most talented workers, entrepreneurs and investors," the immigration minister said.

He held talks with Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, who has warned the cap could have an adverse effect on bilateral trade relations.

Green's comments came less than a month after British Prime Minister David Cameron during his first official visit to India tried to allay concerns over the visa cap, arguing it placed no barrier on skilled workers.

"We intend to reduce net migration to the United Kingdom from the hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands each year," Green said.

The minister also said Britain was taking steps against bogus colleges enrolling overseas students and added the licenses of 70 "education providers" had been suspended in a crackdown.

"It is important to ensure that students are protected from exploitation by bogus colleges in the United Kingdom," he said, adding the British Border Agency was "working hard" to shut them down.

Minister Sharma has also voiced concerns of the impact of the visa cap on Indians wanting to study in Britain and the thousands of Indian doctors, nurses and engineers who seek employment there.

© 2010 AFP

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