Student visa collapse for India and Pakistan continues

But overall net migration still shoots up following influx from EU

February 27, 2014

The latest migration figures indicate another sharp drop in students from the Indian subcontinent coming to the UK, although the overall number of student visas issued has increased.

Study visas issued to Pakistani students were down 55 per cent in the year to December 2013, and down 21 per cent for Indians.

In January it emerged that the number of international students studying in the UK in 2012-13 had fallen for the first recorded time, with a 25 per cent drop in first-year Indian students.

These latest figures, released today by the Office of National Statistics, suggest that this collapse has continued into the 2013-14 academic year.

However they also show that the number of visas issued to Chinese, Malaysian and Brazilian students increased in the year to December 2013.

Overall in 2013, the number of student visas issued was up 4 per cent. Meanwhile, applications for visas to universities have increased by 7 per cent, although fell by around a third for further education colleges.

The government – which has pledged to reduce net migration to the “tens of thousands” by 2015 – has managed to reduce total immigration from outside the EU to 244,000 in the year to September 2013, compared with 269,000 the previous year.

“This is due to fewer New Commonwealth [such as India] citizens migrating to the UK for formal study,” the ONS report says.

The number of such students has declined from around 100,000 in 2010-11, to 34,000 in the year ending September 2013.

But due to a rise in immigrants from the EU, total net migration is up by close to a third to 212,000, making the government’s pledge on immigration looking an increasingly tough target to achieve.

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