Number of Indian Students Rises in U.K.

China, United States and India accounted for over half of the study-related visas granted in the year ending September 2017.


After a steep fall in the number of Indian students visiting the United Kingdom for higher studies since 2010, the numbers went up between September 2016 and 2017, according to official data published on Nov. 30.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that three nationalities –China, India and United States — accounted for over half (52%) of the 224,392 study-related visas granted in the year ending September 2017.

The largest number belonged to the Chinese (88,258 or 39% of the total). While the number of study visas granted to the Chinese increased by 11,697 (15%), that for Indians rose by 2,962 (27%). The corresponding figures for Pakistan and United States were 1,141 (36%) and 877 (6%), respectively, the survey called “Why do people come to the UK to study” showed.

In the year ending 2016, the number of study-related visas granted to Indians, excluding short-term students, was 11,119, while the year ending 2017 saw a rise in the numbers to 14,081, registering an increase of 27 per cent.

Thai, Chinese, Indian and North American (U.S.) students were more likely to depart before their study visas or extensions expired, whereas Russian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Saudi Arabian students were more likely to extend their leave to remain.

The number of Indians getting work visas in 2017 also increased. Indian nationals accounted for 57 per cent of total skilled work visas granted (53,009 of 93,700), and the information technology sector sponsored 40 per cent of skilled work visa applications.

The statistics revealed that the net migration in the country dropped by 106,000 in June 2017 as compared to the corresponding month last year, to 230,000. This is the first major decline in migration since the EU referendum in June 2016 that favored Brexit.

“The first full year of data since the EU referendum vote in 2016 shows a decrease in the number of people coming to live in the UK and an increase in the number leaving, resulting in a fall in net migration of 106,000. Over three-quarters of the fall in net migration was accounted for by EU citizens,” said Nicola White, Head of International Migration Statistics, Office for National Statistics.

She added, “The decline follows historically high levels of immigration and it is too early to say whether this represents a long-term trend.”

White revealed that the number of people immigrating for a definite job has remained stable but there has been a 43 per cent decrease in the number of people immigrating to look for work over the last year, especially for EU citizens. “These changes suggest that Brexit is likely to be a factor in people’s decision to move to or from the UK – but decisions to migrate are complex and other factors are also going to be influencing the figures,” she said.

Of the 833,000 India-born people residing in the United Kingdom in 2016, over half (471,000 or 57 per cent) are British nationals, as compared to just 32,000 (4 per cent) of the 911,000 Poland-born immigrants living in the country. This reflects that EU nationals currently have the freedom of movement between EU countries, whereas for non-EU nationals there is an incentive to acquire British nationality, according to the survey.

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