42% increase in UK student visas for Indians
In the past year, the number of Indian students choosing to study in the UK has risen by 42% in the past year, according to the latest UK Home Office statistics.
The data also indicates that the number of Tier 4 UK student visas issued to Indians is now at the highest level since 2011-2012 at 21,881.
This rise comes following the 2011 abolition of the UK’s two-year post-study work visa by then home secretary Theresa May, which had made Britain a less attractive place for Indian students.
This led to a 55% drop in Indian student numbers in the subsequent academic years.
It’s not just students from India that have seen a rise. The data shows that over half a million (504,599) Indian nationals received visitor visas to the United Kingdom.
Chinese and Indian nationals account for just under half (49%) of all visitor visas issued in the last year, with the number of Indian visitor visas granted up by 11% (48,907) on the previous year.
Of all UK visas granted to foreign persons in 2018, Indian citizens received the fourth-highest amount (1.45 million). Only American, Chinese and Australian nationalities go more.
India also retained its place as the top country being granted Tier 2 skilled work visas with 56,322 granted in the past year, significantly more than any other country. This figure dwarfs the next highest, the US at 9,693.
The number of Tier 1 visas being issued to Indians also increased in the July 2018 to June 2019 period to 306 from 216 the previous year.
In that period, apart from other categories of Tier 1 visas granted, 12 Tier 1 (investor) visas, also known as “golden visas” which can be bought for £2 million, and 71 Tier 1 (exceptional talent) visas were issued to Indians.
UK-India relationship strengthening
Kevin McCole, chief operating officer of UK-India Business council said: “These new visa figures underline the strong UK-India relationship, especially the people-to-people links and, of course, the business-to-business connections that are driving our shared prosperity.
“Indians are clearly making an increasingly invaluable contribution to UK life – business, academia, and society generally. As the UK leaves the EU, there is definitely scope to deepen these links and grow the Indian impact in the UK.”
Sanam Arora, Founder and Chairman of the National Indian Students & Alumni Union UK, said: “We’re delighted to see the increase in numbers of Indian students coming to the UK and can confirm we feel this on the ground with the sheer number of enquires our team is dealing with on a daily basis.”
Jo Johnson, British MP and Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, has tabled an amendment to the bill to re-introduce the two-year post-study work scheme.
Foreign students can currently stay for six months after graduation.
Photo: Lina Kivaka
Kate Frazer is a reporter for Global Education Times with a focus on UK/Ireland and North American education news. When she is not writing for GET News, Kate spends her time as an English and Maths tutor, and is currently pursuing her PGCE in Secondary Mathematics.
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