NEW DELHI: Post Covid, Indian students are emerging as the largest nationality to flock to the world’s most sought after education destinations. The United Kingdom has issued almost 1.3 lakh students visas to Indians in the year ending September 2022 — 273% more than the 34,261 in the same period of pre-Covid 2019.
Chinese students, who were the largest single nationality of foreign students in the UK from 2010 for over a decade, are now at number two with Britain issuing about 1.2 lakh visas to them, data from the country’s Office for National Statistics says.
Similarly, the US had issued the highest number of visas to students from India this fall. The US Embassy in Delhi recently said it had issued “a record-breaking 82,000 student visas in 2022, higher than any other country”. Indian students comprise nearly 20% of all international students studying in the US.
Now, the UK government’s official website says about 4.8 lakh students visas were issued in the year ending September 2022, 77% more than in pre-pandemic 2019 and 24% more than same period last year. “There were 127,731 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 116,476 visas granted to main applicants, 2% fewer than the number seen in 2019 (119,231),” data released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.
“Chinese nationals were the top nationality for sponsored study grants between 2010 and the year ending June 2022. Chinese and Indian nationals together comprise over half (51%) of all sponsored study grants,” it adds.
While students from China in the UK are now almost back to pre-Covid levels, Indians have overtaken them this year.
British high commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, had this August said, “Indian nationals were issued the largest number of UK study, work and visitor visas in the year ending June 2022.”
Continuing to be a popular destination for desi holidaymakers, Indian nationals accounted for the highest proportion (28%) of visitor visas granted by the UK. More than 258,000 Indian nationals received visit visas in the year ending June 2022 – a 630% increase compared to the previous year (when travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic were still in place).
“In the year ending June 2022, Indian nationals also received nearly 103,000 work visas (which includes skilled and seasonal workers) – a 148% increase over the previous year. Indian nationals continue to be the top nationality granted skilled worker visas, accounting for 46% of all skilled work visas granted globally,” the UK High Commission had said in a statement this August.
The US is also seeing the highest demand for visa across categories from India after Mexico. Before Covid, China used to be at the second spot and now India has taken that place with the US seeing demand for visas across categories — student, work, tourist, business and crew — from these two countries.