London: Indian students in the UK want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make a pitch for reducing visa fees for Indians and discuss reviving the post-study work visa - which was scrapped three years ago - when he meets his UK counterpart David Cameron on Thursday.
Dhruv Krishnan is just out of the University of Bristol with a Master's degree in management. He has 120 days to find a job. If he does not, he'd have to pack his bags and return to India. Mr Krishnan says the process of interviews takes about 100 days, which further reduces his chances of getting a job.
"The exposure here is great but you don't get jobs. The post study work visa needs to be brought back or we need to be given more time to find jobs...I appeal to PM Modi to take this up with the UK government," he says. He is one among many with similar hopes.
International students, who make up to 20 percent of those pursuing higher education here, pay a health surcharge of nearly 200 pounds over the existing visa fees. A student visa from India to the UK costs up to Rs 60,000.
Indian tourists to the UK pay Rs 80,000 for a 10 year visa. Several groups, including airlines, have joined the chorus for reduction in fees ahead of PM Modi's arrival in London this week.
"We always look for a package of announcements and deliverables under a visit like this. And I hope there would be significant announcements to show mutual cooperation between the two countries, commercial, business and in every way," says Phillips Hammond, Foreign Secretary, UK.
Chinese visitors to the UK pay 85 pounds for a 6-month tourist visa. Soon they will get a two-year visa for the same fee. This was announced by the UK government just before Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to London in October, raising hopes in the Indian community that a concession is due if PM Modi asks for it.