12 OCT 2010
By Martin Banks | The Parliament
Eurosceptic MEPs have warned that an upcoming landmark EU-India trade deal will "open up non-EU immigration" to the UK.
The UK Independence Party has seized upon a clause in the margins of the EU-India free trade agreement (FTA) deal expected to be signed in December that demands that Britain open up its doors to increased Indian immigration.
The deal will give skilled Indian IT workers, engineers and managers easy passage into Europe in return for European companies gaining access to India's huge domestic market.
The trade deal has split some of the most senior figures in the UK's Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.
Business secretary Vince Cable and foreign minister William Hague believe that the FTA must go ahead because it is worth hundreds of millions of euros to British business but UK prime minister David Cameron and interior minister Theresa May oppose it, insisting that the government upholds a high-profile pledge to bring down net immigration.
Further opposition has now come from Nigel Farage, the UKIP MEP, who said, "This is the first significant step towards a single European immigration policy.
"The fact that the government already admits that it has no influence over EU immigration is well known. Now we see that the EU has the ability to tell the world. 'We are opening Britain to you, whatever London might say' destroys this government's credibility on immigration period".
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EU trade deal threatens to overturn Coalition’s restrictive UK Visa cap
(UK Visa Bureau)