The second most popular education destination in the world, the United Kingdom (UK) is now seeing lesser students opt for it, and more are leaving soon after receiving their degree.
A majority of Indian students pursuing higher education in the UK are leaving the country after obtaining their degree, an official report has said. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), between April 2016 and April 2017, even before the expiry of their visas, as many as 7,469 Indian students left the country, with only 2,209 choosing to extend their visas.
“Thai, Chinese, Indian and North American students were more likely to depart before their study visas or extensions expired, whereas Russian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Saudi Arabian students were more likely to extend their leave to remain,” the ONS data said.
There has also been a massive drop in the number of Indians going to the UK for university level education. Statistics show that approximately 9,600 visas were granted to Indian students in 2016 while in 2010 only one in five of 40,500 visas were for students.
The data comes at a time when a new exit-check system also released its results. Introduced in April 2015, the system releases data about who entered the UK and whether they left when they were supposed to.
It hints the figures of students overstaying may have been inflated in the past and has prompted UK’s home secretary Amber Rudd to commission a new assessment of the impact of international students on the UK economy.
The UK’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has now been asked by Rudd to examine the impact both EU and non-EU students have on the labour market and economy whilst in the UK.
“There is no limit to the number of genuine international students who can come to the UK to study, and the fact that we remain the second most popular global destination for those seeking higher education is something to be proud of,” Rudd said in a statement.
“We understand how important students from around the world are to our higher education sector, which is a key export for our country, and that’s why we want to have a robust and independent evidence base of their value and the impact they have,” she added.
The call is being appreciated and welcomed by university and other agencies involved in attracting more overseas students to the UK’s shores.
London- a calling for many
“London is the world’s most popular city for international students drawn by our world-class universities.
India is an important student market for London and we should not underestimate the value they bring to the economy,” said Andrew Cooke, Acting CEO of London & Partners and Study London.
“Our analysis shows that India represents the fourth largest student population in the capital, contributing 130 million pounds in spend to the UK economy. It is vital that international students continue to feel welcome in our city and we look forward to helping more Indian students wanting to study in London,” Cooke said.
A report by MAC due in September 2018 is hoped to add pressure on British Prime Minister Theresa May to remove student figures from the overall annual migration data.
“This is an opportunity to build on the considerable evidence that shows that international students have a very positive impact on the UK economy and local communities,” said Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK.
Now MAC is to examine the impact that tuition fee and other expenditure done by international students has on the local and national economy, and also to how students contribute towards the growth of economy and the impact they have on the quality of education of domestic students.
The UK is the second most popular destination for international students, and is home to four of the world’s top ten universities. However, off lately it has falling prey to a false perception of being an unwelcoming education destination due to its visa policies.