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More Indian students stay away from Britain

There has been a drop of more than 50% in Indian students coming to Britain since 2010, attributed to student visa restrictions that include closure of the post-study work visa.

world Updated: Jan 12, 2017 20:53 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
(Above) The University of Oxford in Britain. Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that 16,745 Indian students registered at higher education institutions during the year, marking a new low since the decline began in 2010.
(Above) The University of Oxford in Britain. Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that 16,745 Indian students registered at higher education institutions during the year, marking a new low since the decline began in 2010.(Reuters)

The decline in the number of Indian students coming to Britain continued after new figures released on Thursday showed a 9% decrease in 2015-16 compared to the previous year, dismaying higher education stake-holders and others.

Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that 16,745 Indian students registered at higher education institutions during the year, marking a new low since the decline began in 2010. China with 91,215 students topped among non-EU countries.

The latest figures amount to a drop of more than 50% in Indian students coming to Britain since 2010, attributed to student visa restrictions that include closure of the post-study work visa. The closure of nearly 800 bogus colleges is also mentioned as a reason for the drop from India.

HESA said: “India saw the largest percentage decrease, at 44% between 2011/12 and 2015/16. In numbers, this meant that in 2015/16, the number of student enrolments domiciled from India was 13,150 less than in 2011/12.”

 “It is worth noting however, that the decline in student enrolments domiciled from India began a year earlier, in 2010/11.”

Karan Bilimoria, member of the House of Lords, told HT: “This new drop of Indian student numbers is so, so sad. The policies are not only damaging Britain’s soft power but will also damage its ability to forge free trade agreements in the post-Brexit scenario.”

“It is shooting ourselves in the foot. This is economic illiteracy, when international students bring billions of pounds to the British economy and enrich our campuses. We should be more welcoming to international students.”

As Indian student numbers in Britain decline, reports suggest that their number is increasing in countries such as Australia, Canada, United States and Germany.

Responding to the new figures, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, which represents all UK universities, said:

“While demand from Chinese students remains exceptionally strong, we have seen a further and worrying decline in student numbers from countries such as India [-9%] and Nigeria [-10%]. Numbers from India have almost halved since 2011. Malaysia and the United States have now overtaken India in the table of countries providing students to the UK. In comparison, the number of Indian students enrolling in the USA during the same period increased by 25%.

“The UK could be doing much better than this. The UK has the potential to be one of the world’s fastest growing destinations for international students, building on its current status as the second most popular destination for international students [after the US]. The UK benefits enormously, economically and academically, from international students.

“If the UK wants to remain a top destination for international students and academics, it needs a new approach to immigration that is proportionate and welcoming for talented people from across the world. This will be even more important as the UK looks to enhance its place in the world post-Brexit.”

Home secretary Amber Rudd announced at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham in October new plans to curb non-EU professionals and students in a post-Brexit Britain.

Indian students in UK: The downward spiral

2010-11                       39,090

2011-12                       29,900

2012-13                       22,375

2013-14                       19,750

2014-15                       18,325

2015-16                       16,745

 (Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency, UK)