Support is growing for a cheaper 10-year UK visa for Indian nationals to come to the UK, ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit on November 12.
UK airline Virgin Atlantic is lobbying the Government to reduce the price to the same cost as a six-month UK visa. The change has already been implemented for Chinese travellers coming to Britain.
The airline said that the change is needed to take advantage of the “vast exciting business and cultural opportunities that exist between the UK and India”.
Virgin Atlantic spokesman Nick Parker told the International Business Times: “If the UK is serious about further strengthening the economic and cultural relationship with India, this visa change should be delivered next week.”
He said the airline has been talking to the Government about potential changes, which it supports for Indians who want UK visas for both business and leisure purposes. Virgin Atlantic wants the cost of a 10-year visa reduced from the current £737 to £85.
The campaign comes shortly after publication of a report by the British Council, which said that the UK could be losing out on important opportunities due to the lack of knowledge about Britain among young Indians.
The India Matters report said: “There is a growing sense of frustration in India as some feel that a colonial mindset still lingers with some people in the UK, as at times it appears that India is still not perceived or treated as an equal to the UK.”
The Indian Prime Minister will meet with his UK counterpart, David Cameron, and have lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace during his visit. He will also be speaking to British-Indians at an event at Wembley Stadium in London.