The United Kingdom wants more Indian students to arrive in the country to study, Bruce Buckneil, the British Deputy High Commissioner to India, said on Feb. 20. A 27 per cent increase was recorded in the number of tier four visas given to students from India in 2017, he added.
“We granted over 14,000 tier-four student visas and at the same time around 5,000 short-time study visas. Also, 53,000 tier-2 visas have been granted to Indian nationals,” he said, according to the Statesman.
Prior to 2017, the number of tier four visas had dipped to 11,300.
“This year the number has however increased up to 14,000, which I believe is a good indication. However, the tough immigration laws are only to check the number of illegal immigrants in UK. Their visas have expired and most of them have no reason to justify their stay in UK. Most of such illegal immigrants enter the country using student visas,” he said.
There are 5,000 people of Indian origin working in UK universities, Buckneil told PTI.
“We have a diverse population of students but we would like to have more students at our international standing universities,” he said.
Asked if students will be permitted to look for jobs after the completion of their studies, he said, “We have already started a pilot project, in collaboration with some of the reputed universities, that enables a student to stay for another six months in UK after completing their course to look for a job. This pilot project program is being extended to another 23 universities for September 2018-19.”
He added that the United Kingdom wants to track the best students from reputed and top ranking universities. “This program will help students, who are studying in UK for long courses extend their stay. It will also depend on what students have been studying-course specific- over there. Once they complete it and join these universities, they will be able to stay longer and find proper jobs. But we want people to strictly abide by the immigration laws and not take undue advantage of the facilities being extended to them,” he said.
The United Kingdom recently launched a campaign called “Beat the peak” to encourage those visiting the country to apply for visa at least three months in advance to beat the rush. There are also 18 UK visa centers in India, with the latest one being opened in Bengaluru.
Two-thirds of all of United Kingdom’s visas — 60,000 in total — went to Indians in 2017. The country also said recently that a two-year multiple entry visa will be considered for Indians after running the pilot project with China.
The United Kingdom had seen a fall in Indian students because of lack of employment and the government’s push towards decreasing net immigration, which included students.