Boris Johnson battles sharp decline in Indian students at UK universities

Of late, the UK has seen a sharp decline in the number of Commonwealth students enrolling in the Universities owing to the changes in the immigration policies by the Conservative government.

The London Mayor had earlier criticized colleagues of his own Conservative party for applying the student immigration policies which he termed as crazy, is more concerned about the universities of the UK losing to competitors in Australia, Canada and the US as the government seeks to tighten the visa rules for foreign nationals who comes to pursue education in Britain.

In an attempt of reversing the drop rate of Indian students who enrols at UK universities, Boris Johnson is seeking to influence his brother, who is also the higher education minister on this issue for new visa support which will enable the Commonwealth students to settle down and work in the UK after their degrees ends.

Boris Johnson

There has been 50 percent decline in the number of Indian students coming to study in the UK universities. Only 19,750 students were recorded in the year 2013-14, when compared to 39,090 students in the year 2010 -11.

Sheffield University‘s vice-chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett has seen a drop in Indian students enrol which stood at 234 in 2014 when compared to 455 in the year 2010.

The London Mayor who previously spoke about this issues during his previous visits to India, has now written to the universities minister Mr. Jo Johnson, for suggesting a committed “post-study work visa” targeting the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Such moves will partly reverse the three-year-old Home Office’s abolition of visa that allowed all students from outside EU to hunt for jobs in the UK for two-year period after their studies ends. As per the current rules students are given a time of four months to find the work and a salary of 20,800 pounds at least should be paid, which the critics says it will be a disadvantage for those who are outside London and south-east.

“India is a rapidly growing country where there’s enormous focus on information technology, computing, engineering, and these are sectors which correspond to huge growth areas in the British economy,” he said. “The links and connections [between the UK and India] are very strong, and we haven’t quite destroyed them, but we’ve really ripped into a lot of good relationships.”

– Spadman