India now accounts for the largest share of study visas issued by the United Kingdom, surpassing China, according to the latest UK immigration data released on Thursday.
According to the data, which pertains to the period between July 2021 and June 2022, Indians also received the highest number of visitor visas and skilled worker visas issued by the UK.
According to the UK government, the total number of visas, taking other countries into account, exceeds pre-pandemic figures and shows more than just a recovery from a Covid-induced dip.
In the year ending June 2022, the UK issued 4,86,868 sponsored study visas, of which 1,17,965 amounted to Indian nationals – an increase of 89 percent over the previous year. Meanwhile, 1,15,056 study visas were granted to Chinese nationals.
Compared to 2019, the number of study visas granted to Indians increased by 215 percent, while visas granted to Chinese students declined by 4 percent. The report did not examine the reasons for the rise and fall of the share of Indian and Chinese citizens in this category.
Students of Indian and Chinese nationality comprise 48 percent of all sponsored study visas granted by the UK.
British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis said the figures showed the UK was facing unprecedented demand for visas.
“India first again. I am pleased that the largest number of UK study, work and visitor visas were issued to Indian nationals in the year ending June 2022. Further strengthening the unique living bridge connecting our people,” he said in a statement.
The number of sponsored study visas awarded in the year ending June 2022 is the highest on record since this time series began in 2005. Before 2022, the year ending June 2010 had the highest number of student visas at 3,07,394.
A summary of the data shows that the UK also remains a popular holiday destination for Indians, accounting for 28 percent of visitor visas granted in the year ending June 2022.
According to a press statement, “Over 2,58,000 Indian nationals received visit visas in the year ending June 2022 – a 630% increase over the previous year (when travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic were still in force). were)” issued by the British High Commission in India.
Indian nationals also account for 46 percent of all skilled work visas granted by the UK.