The United Kingdom might have severed its ties with the European Union (EU), but there is still some time left for people holding the passports of EU member countries to move to and settle in Britain, if they wish so, says a former British Parliamentarian, Keith Vaz. Portuguese citizenship has been a shortcut for entry to Britain for Indian citizens hailing from places like Goa and Daman for some time now, he says. The popular immigration route for Goans and Daman residents is open till December 31, 2020, the cutoff date when Brexit (Britain's exit from EU) will be in force in letter and spirit.
The longest serving British Asian MP in the British Parliament, Vaz said about 837,000 British citizens are of Indian origin, making Indians the strongest immigrant community in United Kingdom.
In an interaction with Business Today during his recent India visit, Vaz said 'there is a mixture of excitement and lot of apprehension' among the British citizens over the possible impact of Brexit. "Businesses are concerned, travelers are concerned, and we have 11 months to complete the transition. The clock is ticking already", he said.
According to Vaz, Britain will have to look outside EU for trade engagements and India should be one of the first destinations. He also said his country will have to streamline the Brexit deal to minimise the impact for businesses that have seen Britain as a gateway to European markets. "We have to get back the (trade) access to EU in the next 11 months. We need to ease the process of issuing business visas. Companies should know that their investments are secure," he said.
On opportunities in the higher education sector, Vaz said Indian students will benefit from Britain making education more attractive for overseas students. "Allowing students to stay back for another year after completion of their course will make it more attractive," he said.
A Labour Party leader, Vaz served as MP for Leicester East from 1987 to 2019.