63% Increase in Indian Students Choosing to Study in the UK

This remarkable 63% increase year on year is almost four times as fast as the global rate.

The latest UK Immigration Statistics published today show that over 30,000 Indian students received a Tier 4 (study) visa for the year ending September 2019 – up from almost 19,000 the previous year.

Source: ONS

In the last decade, more than 270,000 Indian students have benefited from the UK’s world leading education. Over 1,400 walk-ins were recorded during the recent Study UK Fair in New Delhi, which gave students an opportunity to interact with representatives from over 50 UK universities.

The UK is home to three of the world’s top 10 universities. According to the Times Higher Education rankings for 2020, three of the world’s top 10 universities are in the UK (Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College). The country also boasts 11 universities in the top 100 (UCL, LSE, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow) and 28 universities in the top 200 (Birmingham, Sheffield, Exeter, Nottingham, Leeds).

The latest statistics show that in the year ending September 2019, Sponsored study visa applications (main applicants only) rose 13% to 258,787. The majority (86%) of these were for study at higher education (university) institutions, whose number increased by 14% to 222,047, the highest level on record.

Source: ONS

Statistics show that over half of the Indian students were pursuing post-graduate degrees in the last academic year. Business, finance, computer science and engineering remain the top two subject areas for them.

Seeing this growing interest, some universities are making special efforts. The University College London, the University of Manchester and the University of Edinburgh are top 3 universities that are actively attracting international students and developing their international student recruitment strategies. The pool of Indian applicants to Queen’s University in Belfast has grown 40% annually, for instance, so they are exploring opportunities for tie-ups with Indian universities, offering joint PhDs and more.

The latest visa statistics also show that the UK remains a popular destination for Indian holiday makers. More than 512,000 Indian nationals received visit visas – a 9% increase compared to the previous year.

Overall, it is estimated that more than 1 in 5 of all UK visas go to Indian nationals and 90% of Indian applications are successful, above the global average. Indian nationals also accounted for nearly 51% of all Tier 2 visas granted globally – with over 56,000 Indians receiving skilled work visas in the reporting period.

Sir Dominic Asquith, High Commissioner to India, said: “I’m delighted to see that once again the statistics show that more Indians are choosing to study at the UK’s world-class educational institutions. This is now the third consecutive year in which the numbers have increased. It is important to us, because these young leaders of tomorrow will reinforce the living bridge that connects India and the UK.”

Barbara Wickham, Director India, British Council, said: “We are delighted to see, year on year, more Indian students choosing and trusting the UK education system. UK education institutions equally benefit from the diversity of talent and culture that Indian students bring to campuses.”

The positive growth in student visa statistics, along with the great collaboration between the Indian and UK higher education sectors, ensures that education continues to be key in the relationship between India and the UK.

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Image: Michael Spring / Adobe Stock