More UK visas for Indian professionals, students in 2019
Indian visitors, professionals and students were granted increasing number of UK visas during 2019, reflecting continuing demand by British companies for Indian experts and efforts by stake-holders to reverse a major drop in students coming here.
Figures for the year ending 2019 released by the Home Office on Thursday show a “notable increase” in the number of student visas granted to Indians: almost doubling (up 93 per cent to 37,540) compared to 2018, continuing an increase since 2016.
“This was the largest number of grants to Indian students since the year ending September 2011’, the official analysis of the figures says. There was a major drop of Indian students since 2012, when the post-study work visa was scrapped (it has now been revived).
Indian professionals accounted for half of the Tier 2 work-related visas issued during 2019: an increase of 3 per cent, to 57,199. The top three sectors are information and communication, human health and social work activities, and professional, scientific and technical activities.
The continuing demand for Indian professionals is also reflected in the visa extensions granted during the year: “Indian nationals were granted the highest number of all work-related extensions during the year (42% of the total)”, the analysis adds.
Besides, Indians topped the list of non-EU nationalities granted British citizenship: 14,680, followed by Pakistani (12,915) and Nigerian (8,841) nationals; they accounted for a third (33%) of all grants to non-EU nationals.
In the category of visitor visas too, the Home Office says there was an 8 per cent increase for Indians: 515,026, making India the second in the list of most such visas granted (after China), reflecting growing tourist traffic from India.
India remained in the bottom of the table of countries whose countries were granted the least number of asylum (5 per cent), while those granted the most were Libya (95 per cent) and Syria (90 per cent).
Besides, the largest number of recorded voluntary returns was of Indian nationals (1,816, or 16% of the total), the Home Office figures show.