UK PM Boris Johnson favours more skilled Visas for Indians: Report
London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed his support for more skilled visas for Indians as part of the efforts to expedite the ambitious free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated between the two countries.
Speaking to reporters from the UK on the prime ministerial flight to Ahmedabad on Wednesday night, Johnson acknowledged a massive shortage of experts in IT and programming sectors and said Britain needed "hundreds of thousands" of workers with in-demand skills.
He was responding to questions around visas and free movement of people, which has been a key demand on the Indian side to clinch any FTA with the UK.
"I have always been in favour of having people coming into this country," Johnson was quoted as saying by 'The Independent' newspaper.
"We have a massive shortage in the UK, not least in experts in IT and programming. We are short to the tune of hundreds of thousands in our economy. We need to have a professional approach, but it has got to be controlled," he said.
According to the latest UK Home Office statistics, Indian professionals continue to account for the largest number of UK skilled work visas granted - with 67,839 issued last year, which is 14 per cent higher than 2019.
Indian student numbers have also registered a steady rise since the introduction of post-study work options under the UK's post-Brexit points-based visa system.