In news reports this week, vice-chancellors of universities in the UK have spoken out against the government’s immigration policy and have blamed tough laws for a major drop in the number of Indian students coming to study in British universities. Recent figures released by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) revealed that the decline in the number of Indian students that started in 2011-12 continued in the last academic year (2012-13), leading to a record 25% reduction overall. It seems that the overall reduction in the number of Indian students is 25% over the previous academic year, but the drop is sharper in the case of those enrolling on first-year degree courses, which has almost halved over two years, from 23,985 in 2010-11 to 12,280 in 2012-13.
Immigration Laws “Deterring” Indian Students from UK
Ranjan Mathai, India’s High Commissioner, has stated that visa restrictions on students’ right to work after finishing their courses is just one of the reasons international students are choosing to go elsewhere.
Speaking to the The House magazine, Ranjan Mathai stated:
“Many of the students who I’ve had an interaction with feel that if they’d had a chance to pay their way by staying on for a year – which the system before allowed – then it would make their taking loans and coming to the UK for education more worthwhile, more possible. That’s one reason the numbers have gone down.
Universities UK: UK Must Welcome International Students
The drop in the number of international migrants in the UK has also caught the attention of others in the UK. Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK stated:
“What is clear from this is that, if the UK wants to fulfil its potential in this growth area, it must present a welcoming climate for genuine international students and ensure that visa and immigration rules are consistent and properly communicated.”
£1m UK Scholarship Programme Launched to Attract Indian Students
Last week, the British Deputy High Commissioner, David Lelliott announced his bid to launch a £1m UK Scholarship programme with the hope of attracting the brightest talents from India to study in the UK. 36 institutions across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be involved in the programme, which will start in September 2014. Under the programme, around 370 scholarships will be offered for 260 undergraduate and postgraduate courses including engineering, law, biosciences and IT.
David Lelliot stated:
“Four of world’s top six universities are in the UK and these are known not only for excellent education they offer but also for their vibrant environment. We welcome India’s brightest students in our universities and for that there is no limit on the number of students who come and stay on to work on a graduate level job after their studies.”
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