There is one thing in which India has surpassed China before the population: the number of Indian students in the UK. According to the recently released official immigration statistics by the UK, Indians have become the largest group of foreign students studying in the UK, taking over the Chinese with a massive hike of 273% in visas granted over the past few years.
Not just that! According to the data collated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Indians also continue to be the top nationality granted visas in the skilled worker category. As many as 56,042 Indians were granted work visas in the past year. Indian nationals also represented the highest number of visas at 36% of the total under the tailored Skilled Worker Health and Care visa targeted at medical professionals.
The UK Home Office said, “There were 1,27,731 (study visa) grants to main applicant Indian nationals in the year ending September 2022, an increase of 93,470 (273%) compared to 2019 (34,261).” “Chinese nationals were the second most common nationality granted sponsored study visas in the year ending September 2022, with 1,16,476 visas granted to main applicants, 2% fewer than the number seen in 2019 (1,19,231),” it added.
New Graduate Route and High Potential Individual visas
The new Graduate Route visa introduced in July last year to allow international students the chance to stay on and work at the end of their degree was also dominated by Indians – accounting for 41% of visas granted, PTI reported.
The special High Potential Individual (HPI) visa, launched in May this year to attract the brightest graduates from the world’s top universities around the world to work in the UK, also saw a 14 per cent grant to Indian nationals despite no Indian university being on the approved set of top global universities.
UK’s immigration stats
The statistics show that study visas for Indian, Nigerian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals, are now all more than three times higher than they were in 2019, seen as a major factor behind the UK’s immigration figures hitting record levels over the past year.
According to a PTI report, the overall ONS data shows that net migration to the UK rose from 1,73,000 in the year to June 2021, to 5,04,000 in the year to June 2022 – an increase of 3,31,000 post-Brexit.
The end of lockdown restrictions, the first full period of statistics following the transition since Brexit, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the resettlement of Afghans, and a new visa route for Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) are all said to have contributed to the “record levels of long-term immigration”, PTI reported.
(With inputs from PTI)