An EU – India free trade agreement is expected to be signed by the end of this year.

If the deal goes ahead, UK companies will be able to recruit skilled professionals from India under contract in sectors such as information technology, management consultancy and engineering. In return India agrees to reduced tariffs on European products and the lifting of some restrictions on businesses bidding for public procurement contracts. This agreement is worth thousands of millions of pounds to businesses.

Damian Green, the immigration minister, has said that new annual quotas would be flexible enough to allow more Indian businessmen and professionals to move to Britain as trade between the two countries increases.