UK MP expresses concern over downsizing of visa hub in Mumbai

Expressing concern over UK's decision to downsize its crucial visa hub in Mumbai and for visa applications made in Dhaka to be decided-upon in New Delhi, Britain's longest serving Asian-origin lawmaker, Keith Vaz, has demanded a review of these decisions.

PTI| Updated: Dec 16, 2014, 13:49 PM IST

London: Expressing concern over UK's decision to downsize its crucial visa hub in Mumbai and for visa applications made in Dhaka to be decided-upon in New Delhi, Britain's longest serving Asian-origin lawmaker, Keith Vaz, has demanded a review of these decisions.

Vaz tabled an Early Day Motion in the Parliament, calling upon the government to review these decisions, and endorsed campaigns and e-petitions launched by Curry Life Magazine and Asian Voice, a bi-lingual weekly, on this matter.

The Labour party MP from Leicester East said, "These decisions, made on the basis of?'cutting costs' wherever possible, are short sighted and very worrying for the Indian and Bangladeshi communities in the UK, who I have no doubt will be inconvenienced."

"To remove all visa decision making powers from Dhaka is insulting to the people of Bangladesh, and the importance the UK places on our historical relationship," he said.

Vaz further said that downsizing of visa hub in Mumbai is completely impractical considering the strong links the British-Indian community have there.

"Over the last 20 years visa services have been decentralised," he said, adding, "these decisions will reverse this policy at a time when Mumbai and New Delhi both receive tens of thousands of applications, and over 300,000 visa applications are made across India every year".

This government has rightly pledged to strengthen our relationship with India, but the symbolic and practical implications of these decisions are deeply harmful to this commitment, he added.