Contested numbers on overstayers – by Vidya Ram Extract

How the controversy has affected India-U.K. ties
What is the issue?
Britain has long insisted that too many Indians have been overstaying their visas. It has cited this as a reason for not relaxing visa rules for Indians. In 2016, British Prime Minister Theresa May had said that Britain would consider giving India an improved visa deal “if, at the same time, we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain in the U.K.” India acknowledged the problem and cooperated in the U.K.’s crackdown on “bogus colleges” that enrolled international students but did not have the required standing. However, it has challenged the U.K. on the extent of the issue, and has asked why Britain would allow this one issue to stand in the way of better bilateral ties. Where do things stand?
Things got more tense in June when Britain excluded India from relaxed visa norms for students, and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox linked it to the MoU issue.
India’s demands for “easier norms” as part of a “constant conversation” between the two countries cannot be dealt with if India does not address the issue of “overstayers,” he said.
“I am sure there are many [overstayers], but where did this figure of 100,000 come from?” asked the Indian High Commissioner to the U.K., Y.K. Sinha, in June. It is clear that the issue will remain atop the agenda for some time.
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