Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the issue of falling numbers of Indian students applying to study at UK universities with his British counterpart during his visit to the UK last week.
Mr Modi raised the problems that Indian students encountered applying for UK visas when he met with David Cameron in London. Indian student numbers in Britain have fallen by half in just three years, according to a spokeswoman from India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
The spokeswoman told India’s Catch News: “He urged that Indian students are among the best and the brightest in the world and it would be a win-win partnership for both sides; Indians needing a quality education and the UK benefiting from the expertise that Indian students bring.”
While the UK is attempting to cut net migration figures by targeting international students, the spokeswoman said other countries are “actually wooing Indian students”. She pointed out that India has a growing and aspirational upper middle class with a desire to educate their children abroad, creating a large market.
According to the spokeswoman, Mr Cameron showed an understanding an appreciation of the problems and the matter will come under further discussion.
One of the key factors in the falling number of Indian students opting to study in the UK is the Government’s decision to remove the post-study work visa. Now overseas students must return home at the end of their courses and apply for a UK visa from their native countries if they want to work in Britain. Many Indian students are now choosing to study in countries such as Australia and America instead of Britain because of visa issues.
Figures from Higher Education Funding Council for England show that there were 10,235 Indian students studying in England in 2012-13, compared to 18,535 in 2010-11.