UK government plans to introduce ‘passport pass-back’ facility for Indian students
The number of students migrating to the UK for higher studies is decreasing every year. In order to attract more Indian students, the UK government has planned to introduce ‘passport pass-back’ service to all 12 visa application centres in India.
This service will allow applicants to retain their passports while visa decisions are being made. This will be of particular interest to those people who need to travel or apply for other visas in the interim period. The service will be capped to 75 slots per day across each Visas Applications Centre (VAC) in India.
Explaining the convenience of the passport pass-back service, British Deputy High Commissioner, Bharat Joshi, said, “People who want to go to the UK may also want to go to the US and Europe. They can take back the passport submitted along with the application, get the other visa and come back later to collect their UK visa.”
Earlier this year, a report released by Higher Education Statistics Agency, stated that, in the year 2012-13, the number of Indian students enrolled in institutions for higher education was 22,385 whereas in the year 2011-12 it was over 29,900 and in 2010-11 it was more than 39,900. This shows about 25 per cent decline in the number of students compared to the previous year.
This decline is also mainly because of the new visa policy and regulations that was put into effect by the UK government.
Talking about the new visa process, Kumar Iyer, British Deputy High Commissioner for Western India and Director General for UK Trade and Investment for India said, “The UK government has also set up new rules for working students after completing education. Now students applying for graduate programme can extend their visa to be able to work in areas related with their academic programme.”
The new passport pass-back service will cost INR 4200 per applicant.
– YS Subramaniam