London: Britain's stringent norms in student visa has resulted in decline of number of Indian students in higher education by nearly a quarter last year. Students from India coming to study at UK schools and universities fell by 23.5 per cent overall, including a 28 per cent drop at postgraduate level.
Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency yesterday show fewer than 30,000 students from India were studying at UK higher education institutions in 2011-12, compared with around 40,000 in the previous year.
India, however, remains the second most common country of origin for foreign students in Britain after China, which sent 79,000 students last year. Universities have been warning the UK government that recent changes to student visa rules mean they face losing bright foreign students to rival colleges in the US, Canada and Australia.
Changes to the post-study work visa from April last year removed the option for most foreign students to stay and work for two years after their studies. Under new rules, students can stay for three years post-study only if they find "graduate-level jobs" on salaries of BP 20,000 or higher. Last month, Home Secretary Theresa May had announced that consular staff would interview more than 100,000 prospective students in an attempt to prevent bogus applicants entering the country.
These developments have been seen as largely responsible for making Britain seem like a less welcoming educational destination. "It is essential that we have a period of stability on immigration policy for international students and that our immigration procedures do not create inappropriate barriers for international students who want to study here," Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, told the Daily Telegraph.