Are UK universities no longer the most preferred destination for Indian students?

Published on: Sep 12, 2018 16:35 IST
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A sharp decline in the number of Indian students going to the UK for higher education has been observed. Some reports suggest that there's a sharp reduction in Indian students opting for UK universities in the last couple of years. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which has been given the task of studying the impact of international students in the UK, states that increasing worldwide competition to attract international students has led to the decrease in the number of Indian students. It also blamed 'adverse' media coverage for the sharp drop in numbers.

“The UK’s market of students from India has fallen sharply in recent years, while remaining stable for those students from China. The number of students from India fell from a peak of 24,000 in 2010-11 to fewer than 10,000 in 2016-17,” the report notes, which it says reflects a fall by 11 percentage points since 2010. “This is probably connected to the ending of some sponsor licences and the change in the post-study work offer. There has also been adverse coverage of the UK as a place to study in the Indian press,” it adds.

The UK Home Office has asked MAC to recommend if required, changes to country's visa regime. It has recommended an overall easier transition from student to work visas for talented applicants. However, it dismissed the need for an exclusive post-study visa route. According to a report in OneIndia, Prof Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, was "disappointed" with the report's main recommendations.

"The ability to work in a skilled job for a limited period after graduation is, for many prospective international students, an important part of the overall package when deciding where to study improved post-study visa would put us on a par with what is offered by countries such as the US, Canada, and Australia," she was quoted as saying in the report. She also warned that the growth in student numbers would only be possible if the UK adopts a more encouraging immigration system.

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