Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SAME-DAY VISAS TO ATTRACT BUSINESS FOR UK; INDIA WILL BE FIRST COUNTRY TO BENEFIT, SAYS CAMERON... IN MUMBAI; I Want Special Relationship with India, Says PM

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SAME-DAY VISAS TO ATTRACT BUSINESS FOR UK; INDIA WILL BE FIRST COUNTRY TO BENEFIT, SAYS CAMERON... IN MUMBAI; I Want Special Relationship with India, Says PM

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

THE first "same-day" visa service is to open up Britain to the world's economic boom cities, David Cameron announced today.

Senior executives will be able to apply for a visa in the morning and pick it up that afternoon, instead of waiting up to three days.

India will be the first country to benefit from the premium service, which is designed to send a signal to the world that Britain is ready to do business.

It will help counter complaints that getting permission to visit the UK is too bureaucratic and slow for busy businessmen.

The Prime Minister announced the plans during a visit to Mumbai, saying: "This is a fast-growing economy, it is going to be one of the stars of the future. We are introducing a same-day visa service for business people who want to come to Britain." It will be limited initially to chief executives and finance directors from major Indian companies who will pay a premium fee, which has not yet been set.

No other country offers such a fast service at the moment. A visa for the United States takes at least two days.

If successful, it will be extended to other countries. It could eventually cover China, though an official said there were no plans "in the foreseeable future" for Beijing to get the service.

Heading the biggest trade delegation of British businessmen to India, Mr Cameron also said there would be no limit on Indian students coming to Britain. But the PM delivered a demand that New Delhi open up its financial services and infrastructure industries to expertise and competition from the City of London.

Praising the record of Tata which owns Land Rover and Tetley tea, Mr Cameron went on: "I think, in return, we should be having a conversation about opening up the Indian economy, making it easier to do business here, allowing insurance and banking companies to do more foreign direct investment into the Indian economy. …

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