India Beats China To Become UK’s #1 Foreign Student Community With 273% Rise In Visa!

As per the UK’s official immigration statistics released, with a massive 273 per cent hike in visas granted over the past few years, Indians have taken over Chinese as the largest group of foreign students studying in the UK.

As per the data collated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK Home Office data reveals that with 56,042 granted work visas in the past year, Indians also continue to be the top nationality granted visas in the skilled worker category.

Indians Have Highest Number of Visas, Move Past Chinese

Reinforcing Indian contribution to the state-funded National Health Service (NHS), Indian nationals also represented the highest number of visas at 36 per cent of the total under the tailored Skilled Worker Health and Care visa targeted at medical professionals.

The Home Office said that “There were 127,731 [study visa] grants to main applicant Indian nationals in the year ending September 2022, an increase of 93,470 (273 per cent) compared to 2019 (34,261). Chinese nationals were the second most common nationality granted sponsored study visas in the year ending September 2022, with 116,476 visas granted to main applicants, 2 per cent fewer than the number seen in 2019 (119,231)”.

Indians, with 41 per cent of visas granted, also dominated 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.

Launched in May this year, the special High Potential Individual (HPI) visa, in order 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.

As per the stats, a major factor behind the UK’s immigration figures hitting record levels over the past year, has been the fact that the study visas for Indian, Nigerian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals, are now all more than three times higher than they were in 2019.

From 173,000, the overall ONS data shows that net migration to the UK rose to 504,000 in the year to June 2022. This translates into an increase of 331,000 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”.

Students Driving This Unprecedented Rise

Jay Lindop, Director of the Centre for International Migration at the ONS said that “A series of world events have impacted international migration patterns in the 12 months to June 2022. Taken together these were unprecedented”.

She also added that “Migration from non-EU countries, specifically students, is driving this rise. With the lifting of travel restrictions in 2021, more students arrived in the UK after studying remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. However, there has also been a large increase in the number of people migrating for a range of other reasons. This includes people arriving for humanitarian protections, such as those coming from Ukraine, as well as for family reasons”.

“These many factors independent of each other contributing to migration at this time mean it is too early to say whether this picture will be sustained,” added Lindop.

This data is especially important as well as a matter of concern for the Conservative Party-led government, as the party in its manifesto commits to reduce the migration. This, in the recent weeks and months, has been reiterated by UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

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