“No” appears to be the response from the United Kingdom’s business secretary, Vince Cable, who has urged the Home Office to relax visa rules for international visitors, including those from India and China, to help promote inward investment.
“Their growth is essential to job creation and national economic recovery, as is the emergence of a new generation of Asian entrepreneurs,” explained Cable at the recent launch of the National Asian Business Association, an alliance of regional British and Asian investment business groups.
Mr Cable has been an outspoken critic of the United Kingdom’s immigration policy, stating his belief that certain rules and regulations stand in the way of inward investments and block talent from entering the country.
There are an estimated 50,000 British-Asian businesses in the United Kingdom and there is little doubt that the entrepreneurial spirit and skills of Indian and Chinese business migrants have exponentially positive benefits for the country’s economy.
The Home Office has been quick to defend its position, with the UK Border Agency website publishing an article on its front page detailing “the facts” about visas for Chinese nationals. The main thrust of the article is to point out that: “The United Kingdom is open for business and tourism and China is one of the UK’s priority markets.“
The Home Office is under ever-increasing pressure to reduce net migration but it is important that the measures it takes do not stifle the influx of business migrants who could be immeasurably valuable to the UK. There is clearly a difficult balance to be struck.