By Simran Sodhi / Tribune News Service | on 19 February 2017
Sharma pointed out that the effect of such policies was already being felt very strongly in the Indian diaspora who are settled in the UK but ‘still want to maintain contacts with relatives in India’. He pointed to the way Indian students were treated as compared to those from China to get a better understanding of the prejudices in the UK system.
Virendra Sharma, member of the British Parliament from Ealing Southall, today slammed the Theresa May government for her “biased” immigration policies. In an interview to The Tribune, Sharma said he raised the issue of demonetisation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he, along with five other MPs from the UK, called on him here.
“First of all, nobody, including myself, supports the open-door policy on immigration. That is, anybody can come and anybody can go. But we also want to make immigration fair; you don’t look at the colour of the person but at the skills the person is bringing in,” he said. The British immigration policies and that of May, in some areas, were biased, he said. “It is based on colour and which region you are coming from. It is also dividing people on the basis of financial capacity.”
In a rather serious critique of the May government, Sharma maintained her government was “using terrorism as an excuse to use immigration in a biased manner”. He pointed out that there was a serious concern about too many people from Turkey moving into Europe and “fear” was being used to suit narrow political means. He alleged May was trying to appease the category of people who were anti-immigration. He was dismissive of the claims made by the UK government that these new policies would help filter out terrorists.
Sharma pointed out that the effect of such policies was already being felt very strongly in the Indian diaspora who are settled in the UK but ‘still want to maintain contacts with relatives in India’. He pointed to the way Indian students were treated as compared to those from China to get a better understanding of the prejudices in the UK system. He felt the effects of these new, harsher policies had already begun to show as more Indian students were now heading to Australia and New Zealand, since these countries “offer more favourable experiences to students after school”.
Sharma also expressed his dismay at the way demonetisation had caused unpleasantness in the Indian diaspora. “It is very disappointing and there has been no solution so far. I am not saying if it is a right policy or a not, but the way it has been handled has caused a lot of discomfort among the diaspora,” he said.
On British firms wanting to invest in India, he said the perception of red tape and corruption was a major hindrance even today to global investors who might want to invest in India. Sharma was part of a UK delegation of parliamentarians who were in India last week.