UK visa grants for dependants of Indian students grew 1,900% over 2019-2023

Study Abroad: At over 1.3 lakh, Indian students got 27% – the most – of all UK study visas issued over September 2022-23.

Study Abroad: Indians got 1.33 lakh UK study visa in the year ending September 2023 {Image: Wikimedia Commons)Study Abroad: Indians got 1.33 lakh UK study visa in the year ending September 2023 {Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Pritha Roy Choudhury | November 29, 2023 | 04:16 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Indian nationals were issued the second-highest number of dependant visas by the United Kingdom in the year ending September 2023, latest data from the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows. Dependants of Indian students in the UK were issued 43,445 UK visas, which is a 1,900% increase over 2019’s figure of 2,127.

The highest number of dependant visas were issued to Nigerian students. UK has now changed the policy and will not be issuing dependant visas for students from January 2024.

The UK has granted a total of 1,33,237 study visas to Indian nationals in the year ending September 2023. Indian nationals accounted for 27% of all sponsored UK study visas which was the largest chunk among all countries.

According to the data, 5,804 more visas were granted to Indians this year, which is a 5% increase compared to those granted in the previous year ending September 2022. The home office issued over 4.5 lakh UK visas taking all countries together. The vast majority of these study-abroad applicants – 91% – went for higher education. The rest went for independent schools, English language schools and other courses.

The data also shows that over 5,000 UK visa application forms were rejected and that Indian's had a visa approval rate of 97%, lower than China's which is over 99%.

UK dependant visa

The data released last week also shows that the number of dependant visa grants to Indians grew from 41,318 in 2019 to 43,445 in 2022-23. Nigerian students got the largest section of UK dependant visas – 60,506 – in the year ending in September 2023, which represents an even more dramatic increase of 4,000%.

The new UK Visa policy will be applicable from January 2024 but, according to one section of UK MBA institutions, it is already impacting admissions. Also, the number of family visa grants went up by 117% from 3,7,911 to 8,2,395.

UK visas for dependants of students: Growth story

Nationality

2019

2023

Indian

2,127

43,445

Nigerian

1,427

60,506


Nigerians and Indians together accounted for 68% of student-dependant visas issued in the year ending September 2023.

UK student visa and the graduate route

Indians also received the largest share – 43% – of the 1,04,501 graduate route extensions granted to former students in the year ending September 2023 (excluding dependants).

The UK introduced the graduate route policy in 2021 which allows eligible students to stay in the UK to work or look for work after completing their studies, re-establishing a form of post-study work.

Also Read | Study Abroad: US embassy in India announces new rules for student visa applicants to prevent fraud

“Since 2007 fewer than 10% of people who came to study in the UK had indefinite leave to remain 10 years later (compared to over 20% who came for work and over 80% for family reasons),” says the home office analysis.

UK Study Visa: Pakistan grows 30%

Chinese nationals were the second to follow Indians to be granted sponsored study visas at the end of September 2023 with 1,08,978 visas. Grants to Chinese nationals decreased by 7% compared to the year ending September 2022 and is 22% of the total visa grants.

UK Visa: Top 4 countries

Nationality

Visas granted

India

1,33,237

China

1,08,978

Nigeria

51,071

Pakistan

33,150


Nigerians were issued 50,071 sponsored study visas which is almost equal to the number of visas granted the previous year. The number of UK study visas issued to Pakistani nationals grew 30% to 33,150, the sharpest increase of all.

Also Read| Study Abroad: UK has granted 1,42,848 study visas to Indians in 2023, an increase of 54%

Indians got 18,107 skilled worker visas in the year ending September 2023, a drop of 11% from the previous year’s figure. However, the number of Indian nationals getting ‘skilled worker - health and care’ visas rose 76% to 38,866 over the same period.

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