Indian students being put off studying in Britain because of UK visa changes are being urged to look at a visa for entrepreneurs than would allow them to stay in the country for longer.
The advice comes from Professor Alice Gast of Imperial College London, who is visiting India. She is concerned by the falling number of Indian students applying to study in the UK, which has been blamed on changes to the international student visa that prevents graduates staying in Britain to look for work once their course has finished.
Prof Gast said that the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa is an alternative route for students with good business ideas to come to the UK.
She told the Economic Times: “It is something that has benefited the US greatly, with the entire story of the Silicon Valley based on such a visa. The UK could benefit similarly.
“What I do not want to miss out on are those entrepreneurial students, who would not have that salaried job but would be adding greatly in a smaller, medium sized enterprise or even in trying to set up a start-up.”
The number of Indian students studying in the UK has fallen by around 10 per cent according to the latest official figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency. The drop is being blamed on the UK’s tougher immigration policies which has made students look to other countries with more welcoming regulations that allow them to remain in the country after their course is complete.
Prof Gast has already spoken out in support of international students in the past. Last year, she wrote an open letter to The Times about the importance of their input to the UK economy.
UCL has around 250 Indian students and past graduates include former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.