The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of the Technical Arrangement between India and Switzerland on the identification and return of Swiss and Indian Nationals and its implementation. Conclusion of the Bilateral Technical Arrangement (BTA) has been linked to the Visa Free Agreement for holders of Diplomatic passports as a package deal. The BTA essentially aims to formalise the existing procedure for cooperation on the return of irregular migrants between the two countries without introducing any additional obligations or exacting timeframes. It is noteworthy that the estimated number of irregular migrants in Switzerland who are thought to be from India is less than 100. If the BTA with Switzerland is approved as proposed, it would offer an opportunity to use the same as a model template for negotiations on the subject with other EU countries, which have been raising the issue regularly with us. It would also help to leverage the Readmission Agreement to liberalise visa and work permit regimes for legitimate Indian travellers. This has been envisaged as a key goal in the recently concluded India-EU Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM).
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