UK Visa Policies May Have Already Started Hurting Indian Students' Enrollment For January 2024

UK Visa Policies May Have Already Started Hurting Indian Students' Enrollment For January 2024

The numbers are down and to confirm the same, The Free Press Journal talked to counsellors and housing firms to check if it correlates.

Sunidhi VijayUpdated: Saturday, December 23, 2023, 04:38 PM IST
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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak | AP

The new visa policies by the Rishi Sunak government in the UK may have already started affecting the Indian market in the UK in aspects of university and accommodation enrollments. 

Latest data reveals numbers

According to the latest data published by Enroly Data Insights in November, there is a marginal fall in the number of International students enrolling in UK universities for the month of January 2024. The data indicates that, in comparison to January 2023, total deposit payments have decreased by 52%, CAS issuance has decreased by 64%, and visa issuance has decreased by 71%. For the Indian market, the data predicted a fall in deposits which is down by 52% and CAS/visa issued is down by 66%. Enroly is a privately held company that automates the process of arriving and onboarding for agents, students, and universities.

The numbers are down and to confirm the same, The Free Press Journal talked to counsellors and housing firms to check if it correlates.

Daniel Smith, Founder of Student Housing Consultancy said that the ban, visa delays and general anti-immigration rhetoric from Rishi Sunak and James Cleverly is detrimental to the UK’s reputation as a world-leading higher education destination. "I've spoken to various agents and students accommodation marketplace, they are all telling me that demand for January courses is between 40-60% down year on year," he said, adding that figures for September 2024 may also be down by over 20%. 

Numbers may have only slowed down

However, several others are of the opinion that the enrollments may have only slowed down which is not as such consequential. 

"The numbers have not gone down but have merely slowed down. I term it as healthy regression. The numbers have been going strong since the past 2-3 years so a slowdown is bound to happen," said Saurabh Arora, founder of University Living. 

Arora also mentioned that there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the new visa policies in the market and thus students will look away from the UK for some time.

Karan Gupta, Career Counselor is of the opinion that the numbers remain anyway down for the January market because many universities start their programs in September itself. "That being said, the UK government has created an impression that international students are not welcome." 

Students are preferring alternate destinations

The numbers have not budged for Amberstudent as well. "However, challenges meeting the skilled work visa's minimum wage requirements after 2.5 years have led to exploration of alternative destinations," said Madhur Gujar, Co-founder and Chief Business Officer at amberstudent. He also said that factors such as Australia's reopening, improving Canada relations, and France's new five-year post-study work visa may contribute to reduced UK student demand.

UK new visa rules

According to the UK Home Office, the new measures would affect approximately 300,000 people who would no longer be able to enter the country. One of the measures is a threefold increase in the minimum pay that migrants must earn in a skilled profession. There are also questions if students should be included in net migration calculation at all. There are rules prohibiting foreign care workers from bringing their dependents with them, even though the healthcare industry is immune from these limits on salary. 

The new laws are said to curb immigration ahead of general elections likely to be held next year.

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