Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Number of Indians Choosing to Visit UK for Studies Rises

Piccadilly Circus in London.

More Indians are choosing the United Kingdom as their destination of study and travel, according to the British High Commission in India. The number of student visas increased by 32 percent while a 10 percent rise was recorded in visit visas allotted to Indians from July 2017 to June 2018, the embassy said in a statement.

The number of UK visas granted to Indian nationals is increasing continuously, the high commission said, citing data of the UK Office for National Statistics. Nine out of 10 Indian visa applications are approved, which is above the global average, it added.

A total of 550,925 Indians were granted the UK visa in the year ending June 2018, marking a 10 percent increase from the corresponding figures the previous year. Among these, visit visas increased by 10 percent to 454,658, showing that the United Kingdom remains a favorite holiday destination for Indians.

Also, the T4 visas, granted to Indian students, touched 15,390, marking an increase of 32 percent over the previous year. This is the third successive year that the number of student visas has increased, the statement added.

Indian students arrive in the United Kingdom to pursue degree courses as well as short-term courses. Over 6,500 Indians reached the United Kingdom for short-term study in the 12-month period reported.

“I’m particularly pleased to note that numbers of Indian students have increased by 32%. I welcome this evidence that international students wish to study at our world class institutions and are succeeding in securing places there,” Dominic Asquith, the British High Commissioner to India, said.

“The latest figures reinforce a trend we have noticed for some time – that across the board more and more Indians are choosing the UK as a destination to visit, work in and study. This is fantastic,” he added.

The high commission also said that India continues to receive more UK work visas than the rest of the world combined. Over 60,000 work visas were issued last year, it said.

The United Kingdom has been among the favorite destinations for Indian students. Over 14,000 Tier-4 student visas and around 5,000 short-time study visas were granted to Indian student in 2017.  However, the issue of study visa sparked a controversy in June this year, after India was excluded from the list of countries offered easier norms for Tier 4 visa.

The UK government’s announcement, relaxing rules for students of 25 countries while excluding India, did not change anything for Indian students, but it sent a negative message in the country. The decision also prompted London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan to urge Britain to add India to the list of “low risk” countries, which were being offered relaxed visa norms for students.

Britain had said India’s exclusion from the list was due to its refusal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on return of illegal immigrants.

“This is a constant conversation we need to have with India. There is always a demand for easier norms, but we cannot look at that without addressing the issue of overstayers,” Liam Fox, Britain’s Secretary of State for International Trade, was quoted as saying by PTI at the time.