Should India have influence over UK immigration policy?

The UK government is going to offer India a say in its new immigration policy, according to a Guardian report.

According to the report a Downing Street source said the prime minister was keen to offer reassurances to India. “We want to work with India and other countries to ensure that high-skilled people can still come to Britain,” the source said. “We are going to talk to these countries about how to implement the cap.”

Has David Cameron cottoned on to the fact that Indian workers play an important role in providing services to UK businesses or is he just pandering to one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

In the lead up to the election the Tories pledged to cap the number of work permits given to non EU citizens. This is a guaranteed vote winner as thousands of unemployed UK citizens feel they are being overlooked.

At the time shadow immigration minister Damian Green said: “It seems extraordinary that when British workers can’t find jobs we are bringing foreign workers from halfway round the world. This is another sign that Gordon Brown’s ‘British jobs for British workers’ was a meaningless sound bite,” said Green. What was that last bit Damian?

The IT sector is the biggest contributor to Indian Labour immigration to the UK. Indian IT workers make up a vast amount of immigrant labour in the UK It seems that the Indian authorities are making it clear to the UK government that it does not approve of a cap on the number of work permits granted.

Indian IT companies have become critical components of IT departments of the UK’s biggest companies.

Many IT workers that contact me are not against Indian workers being given permits but do think it is unfair that these workers are paid less. This makes UK workers uncompetitive.
Cameron wants closer ties with India because he knows its economy will continue to grow and it is a massive potential market for UK goods and services.
It seems he is prepared to compromise on a major election promise.

For the figures for labour immigration to the UK over the last decade see a recent blog I posted.