Being one of the most sought-after destinations for higher education overseas, the UK seems to be losing it shine among Indian students. So, what is happening in the UK? Why is it losing its popularity?
The main reason for the decline in the popularity of UK as the study abroad destination is the strict and stringent visa rules. The changes in the visa rules for the non-European Union students actually restricts international students from staying in the UK after their studies.
Most of the international students usually take huge loans to fund their studies in the UK. Experts suggest that, the government needs to take strategic steps to reassure these students and give them a reasonable window to work or intern alongside getting a degree.
If the government changes the visa rules and allows students to seek work, it will indeed be a great boost for international students aspiring to study in the UK, as for most studying abroad is more than just earning a degree.
According to the data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, UK in 2004-05 there were about 10,000 first year students in the UK which grew to cross 20,000 students between 2008 and 2011.
Whence the implementation of strict visa rules, the number of students flying overseas to the UK has drastically dropped from 2011. The number was just 10,125 in 2014-15.
A well known trend with studying abroad is that, India sends the second largest contingent to the UK for higher education, China being the first with around 18,320. However, there is a dramatic dip in the numbers from the previous year and the year before.
In fact, international students in the UK definitely make a positive contribution to the universities populations and revenues, however, loosening the visa rules is still distant. The cap on the visa rules will affect the revenues negatively due to the reduction of influx of high-fee paying international students.
What drives Indian students for an overseas educational experience is the financially high returns along with high potential for finding job opportunities. This being the major reason for Indian students enrolling master's programme in engineering or business. [You might want to read: How does studying abroad make you smarter?]
With the UK policy becoming stricter in terms of study and work, Indian students will certainly look for alternative destinations.
Steps taken by the British universities to retain its popularity and sustain Indian students:
- Many universities in the UK are trying to lure more international students by offering attractive and high-quality programmes.
- Though scholarships and visa policies are outside the control of the universities. Some universities are trying to reach out students through social media and alumni.
The present scenario in the UK both the economic and political climate is about limiting migration from any pathway. Such conditions are not favourable for any changes in the visa policies in at least the next two years. The visa rules will not be providing any support or leniency for more work and immigration opportunities for Indian students.