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Sharma conveys Indian concern to Britain on immigration cap

New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) India has conveyed to the British government the concern of its business and professionals about the newly-announced cap on immigration of workers from outside the European Union.

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma raised the issue during a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London, a commerce ministry statement released here Tuesday said.

He said greater people-to-people contact was crucial for the service industry, the statement said.

Indian business people and professionals, who use Britain as a hub for Europe, feel that the proposed restrictions would hamper their movement.

The British government had announced Monday a cap on immigration to the country from non-European countries.

The restrictions are temporary for now, but will be made permanent in April next year.

The current cap is to stop any immediate surge in numbers before the permanent curbs come in and will cut the number of foreign, non-EU workers entering the country by five percent to 24,100 before April 2011.

Immigration was the second most important election issue after economy in the British elections earlier this year.

However, the immigration cap has become controversial. It is being opposed by British businesses, who say a fall in the number of foreign skilled workers will affect economic growth as the country is struggling to recover from its longest and deepest recession in more than 50 years.

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