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UK cuts visas, Indians to be hit

world Updated: Mar 23, 2011 01:57 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar
Dipankar De Sarkar
Hindustan Times
Dipankar De Sarkar

In a move that will hit Indian and Chinese nationals, the British government Tuesday said it would cut the number of student visas for non-Europeans by up to 80,000 a year, saying the regime was being abused as an easy route to migration.

It also announced steps to drastically cut the number of dependents students will be allowed to bring, while cracking down on bogus colleges and limiting the opportunities for students to stay on and work. Only those graduates with offer of a skilled job from a sponsoring employer will be allowed to stay.

There are some 34,000 Indian pursuing higher studies in the UK, according to Indian estimates. British estimates, which take sub-graduate studies into account, are over the 50,000 mark, the highest after Chinese.

The steps come in spite of concerns conveyed by New Delhi. Home secretary Theresa May told HT that the Indian government was as keen as the British to ensure the quality of education on offer. “They want students to be able to come to the UK but they also want it to be fair to students — they want them to be able to study in genuine courses.”

The measures are part of the government’s resolve to bring down the overall non-EU immigrants from around 200,000 last year to “tens of thousands” by 2015. Universities have opposed the steps, which they fear will bring down the £40 billion (R 30 trillion)-a-year income that foreign students bring.