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Theresa May no hindrance to Indians determined to study in UK

Indian students have typically favoured the UK as a study destination, to the point of some taking illegal means to enter the country. Source: Shutterstock

After a dip in the last few years, the number of Indian students furthering their studies in the United Kingdom are picking up again, despite the government’s attempts to reduce the number of international students entering the country.

Ninety percent of them are pursuing a university education, Hindustan Times reported British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith as saying.

“There was a decline in the number of Indian students in the UK since the last few years but it has picked back up by 10 percent in the last year,” Asquith said last Thursday at an event with students of the Heritage Institute in Kolkata.

These figures come in the wake of an announcement by the UK Home Office it will be undertaking a study into the benefits international students bring to the UK economy and its local communities, which is expected to be completed next year. The current Conservative government has been heavily criticised for its insistence on including international students in its target to reduce the number of immigrants to the UK by “tens of thousands” per year.

May faces calls to exclude international students from her immigration target. Source: Reuters/Ben Stansall/Pool.

Hindustan Times also reported in July the UK is now seen as unwelcoming to Indian citizens after it embarked on a crackdown on bogus higher education institutes that act as a pretext for Indians to enter the UK illegally to work and live under student visas. This resulted in the overall number of Indian students in the UK dropping more than half between 2010/11 and 2015/16.

However, Asquith called on students to disregard such sentiment portraying the UK as turning international students away.

“If anybody has the perception there is any intention to keep students away, it is not true. Around 90 percent of the Indians who apply for higher education in the UK get the visa. It was 83 percent in 2010 and has been going up since then,” Asquith said.

Asquith said in 2010, half of the Indian student cohort in UK went to further education colleges while the rest went to universities. Whereas today, 90 percent of student are at universities while only 10 percent are pursuing “higher education courses”.

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