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Shape Of The Possible India/UK Visa Deal - Impact On Indian Students In The UK

For several months, the UK government has been working to foster greater relations with India, including in the areas of trade and immigration. British PM, Boris Johnson, was due to travel to India in April 2021 to continue talks, however, this has been deferred due to the current COVID-19 crisis developing in the country. The goal is to work towards a full free-trade agreement (FTA) by first developing an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP). In a join UK-India statement. Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade and Shri Piysuh Goyal, India’s Minister for Commerce and Industry, made their common intentions clear; “Taking forward their commitment from the 14th JETCO on 24th July 2020, India and UK Trade Ministers reviewed the ongoing engagements between the two sides for an ETP, as part of the development of a roadmap that would lead to a potential comprehensive FTA, including considerations on an Interim Agreement on a preferential basis”. In this article, we will take a look at a potential immigration deal between the UK and India which may see more Indian students coming to the UK in return for returning ‘illegal migrants’ to India, and the impact of placing India on the red list on Indian students enrolled in the UK.

What Is The Shape Of The Possible India/UK Visa Deal?

While there is no formal announcement on the shape of a deal between the two countries, there is a suggestion that the UK is likely to agree to a visa which will increase the number of international students coming here in return for sending back migrants living in the UK illegally. The plan is part of a “migration and mobility” partnership, according to the Telegraph. Even despite the current pandemic crisis in India, it is believed that progress on this plan may be made in the coming days when India’s foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar arrives in the UK for G7 talks. Previous attempts to sign such a deal, as in 2018, have been hampered by Indian concerns at the number of its nationals being returned by the UK.

Impact Of COVID-19 On Indian Students In The UK

In recent years, the number of Indian students coming to the UK has risen substantially. Last year (2020), despite the pandemic, it is estimated that around 37,500 Indian students enrolled at a UK educational establishment, compared to nearly half of this in 2018. The problem for many at present is the current addition of the UK to the ‘red list’ requiring students arriving from India to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for ten days on arrival here. The challenge for many is the sheer cost of the accommodation. According to iNews, the Department of Health and Social Care is expected to increase the number of available hotel rooms in expectation of people returning from India. And the longer the crisis continues in the country, the more likely it will be that Indian nationals will need to resign themselves to having to quarantine in the knowledge that India’s red listing may not be lifted anytime soon.

Sanam Arora of the National Indian Students Union explained the sheer scale of the problem; “We do expect the numbers of students [coming to the UK] to be in the thousands. There’s quite a few who are already here, but there’s a significant chunk who are stuck there who were doing their first and second term remotely, and the requirement for them was to be in the country physically for the final semester”. Sanam went on to say, “Students are in a complete panic about this £1,750 charge they will have to pay for mandatory quarantine. If they are not from well off families, they often take very high-interest loans in order to come and study in the UK already”. It is estimated that of the 55,000 Indian students enrolled in UK universities, around 14,000 are unable to leave India and are studying through remote learning.

One Indian student, Jetal Zala, 23, a business and management research masters student at the University of Stirling, spoke to the newspaper to explain the issues she and her fellow students are facing; “Due to the changes in the quarantine rules, I just cancelled my flight because it is £1,750, which is really not affordable to me as a student. I’m hoping the UK government might take steps to provide an exemption for students, or if by any chance they might provide discounts on it. I have no other option at the moment. I need to stay here as I really can’t afford it”. In addition, Jetal explained that paying for the quarantine in instalments is also not an option given the high cost of her fees, housing, and other living costs.

Another major worry for Indian students who are currently unable to return to the UK is qualifying for the new graduate visa. The scheme, which will open for graduates completing their studies this summer, requires them to be in the UK by 21st June 2021. The information available on the scheme states, “Applicants who began their studies in Autumn 2020 will now have until 21st June 2021 to enter the UK (updated from 6th April 2021) in order to be eligible for the Graduate route. Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by 27th September 2021”. As such, many Indian students might find themselves stuck between paying the quarantine hotel costs and losing their right to a two-year visa to find work in the UK once they graduate.

Final Words

The news that the UK and India are getting closer to a migration and mobility deal will be of little consequence to Indian students already enrolled at a British university and cannot make the journey to the UK. We can only hope that the current crisis will abate later in 2021 and that the proposed visa deal will go ahead, allowing more students to enjoy the benefits of a British education.


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O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

That alone shows what an amazing and talented team Reiss Edwards are. Thank you".

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"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy.

As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

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"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

Deepak Chartbhurjh

"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

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Top Notch Immigration Service

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Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly".

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"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help".

Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

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"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee...

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Majlinda Berisha

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"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy. As a family, we...

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Saira Lawson-Brown

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Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They ac...

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Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to ...

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"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my expe...

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