Published: 05th November 2020
The UK visa regime is changing, high approval rating for Indian students: Oliver Ballhatchet, British Dy High Commissioner
In 2020, around 49,8000 Tier 4 study visas have been issued, which is a 136 per cent increase from what was in 2019, he added
About 96 per cent of applications for visas from Indian students to study in the United Kingdom were granted earlier this year, said Oliver Ballhatchet, British Deputy High Commissioner, Chennai. "We are looking at an extremely high approval rating from now on. Indian students account for one of the largest groups of international students that study in the UK. In 2020, around 49,8000 Tier 4 study visas have been issued, which is a 136 per cent increase from the year before. Our visa regime is changing as we are not tied to the European Union anymore," he added while speaking at a virtual event on Wednesday conducted by the British Council and British High Commission, Chennai.
Further, speaking about the UK-India ties in the education sector, the British Deputy High Commissioner said, "COVID-19 has impacted our lives, the students going to the UK, but international students are still welcome as the UK universities are committed to supporting each and everyone during these tough times. During the 2018-19 period, we have also provided about 480 scholarships worth 6.5 million pounds to Indian students wanting to study here. Our universities are renowned for their quality, diversity and impact, which we are willing to share with Indian students. Education can benefit from the wonderful relationship between the two countries."
Also, speaking at the virtual event, Janaka Pushpanathan, Director South India, British Council emphasised how the British Council and the High Commission are aiming to promote educational, cultural exchange between both countries. "Last year across India, we have worked with 24 state governments and impacted 51.5 million young people in India. The StudyUK programme by the British Council conducted its first virtual fair to support students' decision making this year owing to the pandemic. Over 2,300 parents, students attended and 26 universities from the UK participated. Early on during the pandemic, we had also conducted two quick surveys across social media — one in April and the other in August. This was to create a deeper understanding of our student market, sentiment, clear picture of what they are thinking, and re-thinking about their study plans," she said.
Further elaborating on the surveys, Janaka added that 65 per cent of the undergraduate, 59 per cent of the postgraduate students who had already made plans to study in the UK was not at all likely to delay their plans. "There were concerns around financial uncertainties, visas but we have been able to deal with that, the universities also had been proactively communicating with the students. We have also come up with new scholarships for Indian students and have MoUs with governments in the Southern states to facilitate further opportunities," she added.