Amid reports of long delays or high rejection rates for visa to the West, the latest UK Immigration Statistics today show an 89 per cent increase in student visas granted to Indians, as compared to the previous year. Similar trends were seen in other visa categories as COVID-19 eased up.
India has thus overtaken China as the largest nationality being issued sponsored study visas in the UK, with 1.18 lakh visas in the year ending June 2022.
For visitor visas to the UK, Indian nationals accounted for the highest proportion (28 per cent). That means nearly 2.6 lakh visas between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022. This is a 630 per cent increase on the previous year, though much of the increase is because travel restrictions have largely been removed,
There's been a sharp rise in work visas too. Indian nationals received more than 1 lakh work visas - skilled and seasonal workers) — meaning a 148 per cent increase over the previous July-to-June period. Indian nationals continue to be the top nationality granted skilled worker visas, accounting for 46 per cent of all skilled work visas granted globally.
Delays and higher probability of rejection have, meanwhile, been reported from the US and Canada in particular.
Here, too, in absolute numbers, Indians continue to be prominent. But, as the suicide by a young man in Haryana recently showed, the desperation to go to Canada for better education — and a better life — remains high.
Canada has been a favoured destination due to its easier immigration policies. And the US continues to attract high-skilled visa-seekers. The UK has also been on that list, but it's not as coveted as it once was. Brexit and relatively tougher immigration policies have played a role.