India steps up migrant mobility push in Europe

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, December 13: The sixth round of the India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations is underway in the national capital. The India-UK FTA had missed the Diwali deadline following London developing cold feet over the issue of migrant mobility.

While Union Minister for Commerce Piyush Goyal and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Kemi Badenoch discussed the progress in talks over the FTA negotiations, India has stepped up partnership with the European countries for greater access of the trained manpower. India and Finland signed a joint declaration of ‘Intent on migration and mobility’ to arrive at a mutually beneficial arrangement. This will facilitate ease of migration and mobility between the two countries. Goyal in his talks with Badenoch affirmed their commitment to the ongoing India-UK FTA negotiations which would “unlock the full potential of boosting jobs, investments and exports between the two countries”.

Earlier, India had signed a similar pact with Germany during the visit of German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to New Delhi. India and Germany would collaborate on training and skill development, which will help Berlin meet the requirement of the trained human resources. With India going ahead to find a greater access for its manpower in Germany and Finland, the UK is also likely to climb down on its stand against migrant mobility even while the domestic political constituency has been influenced against the migrants.

A report by the National Skill Development Council of India has noted that there will be an acute shortage of workforce in 16 destination countries, which India can aim to tap. Incidentally, one-third of the Visa recipients in Germany for Blue-Collar jobs were from India in 2021. While countries like Germany, Finland, the UAE and Australia are seeking to benefit from the migrant mobility to improve bilateral relations with India, the UK remains hesitant.

India and Finland declaration was signed by Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan and Minster of Employment of Finland Tuula Haatainen. The External Affairs Ministry said, the declaration underlines the resolve of both countries to work jointly towards developing a common framework of arrangement and cooperation. “This will facilitate mobility of students, academics, researchers, business people, and professionals and to combat irregular migration. India and Finland share warm and friendly relations underpinned by common values of democracy, freedom, rule of law, and respect for human rights,” added the Ministry of External Affairs.

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