Reversing trend: Rise in Indian students going to UK
After years of decline in the numbers of Indian students coming to the UK, figures released on Thursday show a 63% rise in Tier 4 visas issued, reflecting the largest number of annual grants to Indian students since 2011. New curbs and closure of the post-study work visa in 2012 had led to a steep fall in the number of Indians choosing the UK for higher education, against countries such as Canada, Australia and the US.
The UK Home Office said Chinese and Indian nationals together accounted for over half of all Tier 4 visas granted to non-European Union citizens (43% and 11%, respectively) during the year ended September 2019.
During the year ended September 2018, 18,730 Indians were given student visas. The figure jumped to 30,550 in the year ended September 2019, leading to the 63% rise.
Former home secretary Theresa May scrapped the visa in 2012, which led to the perception that the UK was less welcoming to international students, and resulted in a steep fall in the number of Indian students from 39,090 in 2010-11 to 16,550 in 2016-17.
In September, the Boris Johnson government announced the return of the two-year post-study work visa, popular with self-financing Indian students, from academic year 2020-21, allowing them to take up work for two years after completing courses.
The cache of immigration statistics also reveals that Indian professionals continued to be in demand in the UK. In the year ended September 2019, they accounted for over half (51%) of all 56,241 Tier 2 visas granted, a 2% increase over the previous year.
Indian nationals were also granted the highest number of all work-related visa extensions during the year (42,350, or 41% of the total), the Home Office said. Visitor visas issued to Indians were also up by 43,755 to 512,681 during the year.