U.K.: Sussex Pro-VC Advocates Graduate Immigration Route Visa

U.K.: Sussex Pro-VC Advocates Graduate Immigration Route Visa

The University of Sussex's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global and Civic Engagement, Robin Banerjee, explores the reasons Indian students choose the U.K. over other countries, focusing on the opportunities and special appeal of British universities.

Simple VishwakarmaUpdated: Monday, April 29, 2024, 03:13 PM IST
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Robin Banerjee |

Indian students in the U.K. encounter several difficulties in the ever-changing global education landscape, from adjusting to a new culture to figuring out challenging academic programmes. In an exclusive interaction with The Free Press Journal (FPJ), the University of Sussex's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global and Civic Engagement Robin Banerjee discusses these concerns and offers suggestions. 

Banerjee explores the reasons Indian students choose the U.K. over other countries, focusing on the opportunities and special appeal of British universities. He also examines the possible extension of Sussex into the Indian education market and the effects of the new higher education rules in India on study options. 

All the while, he advocates for the graduate route visa, which is essential for maintaining global competitiveness.

FPJ: What challenges do Indian students face in the U.K. and how does the University of Sussex support them? 

Banerjee: As is the case with moving to any new destination, students coming to the U.K. often need support to get the most out of their studies and student life. In recent years one of the challenges for students has been increased demand on the housing sector in many cities across the U.K. I’m proud of the support that the University of Sussex has in place to help students navigate through this: we offer guidance and practical support for students looking to rent privately. For example, if they’re going to rent from a private landlord, we can check through their tenancy agreement to safeguard against unscrupulous landlords. We also offer international students a housing guarantee, meaning that as long as they meet certain criteria, they will be guaranteed a space in university-managed accommodation.

FPJ: Why are more Indian students choosing the U.K. over other countries? 

Banerjee: I am always enthused by the aspirational spirit of the Indian students I meet both in India and on the Sussex campus, and I believe that the U.K. has remained a popular study destination for Indian students because we allow them to nurture their aspirations: we have world-leading institutions offering graduates local and global opportunities and I’m proud that we have scholarships such as the £4,000 Sussex India Scholarship to help Indian students realise their dreams. 

FPJ: How will India's new higher education guidelines affect U.K. study choices? 

Banerjee: I am optimistic that the UGC’s Institutional Development Plan will build on the opportunities allowed by the NEP: Sussex has forged some enriching relationships with Indian institutions which already benefit students in India and the U.K.. The IPD aim of driving economic and societal progress is something at the heart of Sussex, in fact we’ve just been named QS 1st in the world for Development Studies for an eighth year running, so I am excited to see what opportunity it brings and look forward to exploring this with our valued partners in India.   

FPJ: Is the University of Sussex planning to enter the Indian education market?

Banerjee: Our priority is to continue our collaborative work with our partner institutions in India with partnerships and collaborations that benefit students, staff, and the wider society. With so many old and new excellent institutions already in India, we are excited to see where this collaboration takes us rather than looking to establish our own campus in India. We already work collaboratively with institutions such as TISS, IIT Indore, IIT Bombay, Atlas SkillTech University, and BITS Law School.

FPJ: Does the University of Sussex advocate for the graduate route visa? 

Sussex remains a huge supporter of the graduate immigration route visa and are working with organisations in the higher education sector to advocate for it. We hope that any changes to government policy around visas protect universities’ abilities to produce high-calibre graduates who can take their education into the world of work and use it as a force for good.

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