The United Kingdom has witnessed a staggering 1900% surge in dependent visas issued to Indian students’ family members from 2019 to 2023, according to data from the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS).
This significant increase reflects the growing popularity of UK education among Indian students and their families.
Highest Number of Dependent Visas
Indian nationals secured the second-highest number of dependent visas, with 43,445 issued in the year ending September 2023. This marks a massive increase from the 2,127 visas granted in 2019.
However, Nigerian students secured the highest number of dependent visas, with a remarkable 4,000% increase, totaling 60,506.
New UK Visa Policy to Impact Dependent Visas
It’s important to note that the UK government has recently announced a new policy change. Starting January 2024, dependent visas will no longer be issued to student families, except for those enrolled in postgraduate research programs.
This policy change is expected to significantly impact the number of dependent visas issued in the coming years.
Indian Students Remain a Strong Force
Despite the upcoming policy change, Indian nationals remain a dominant force in the UK education sector. They accounted for 27% of all sponsored UK study visas, totaling 1,33,237 in the year ending September 2023. This represents a 5% increase compared to the previous year.
Graduate Route Extension Shows Strong Indian Presence
The data also highlights a significant increase in the grant of graduate route extensions to Indian students. In the year ending September 2023, Indians claimed the largest share (43%) of the 1,04,501 graduate route extensions granted to former students. This further strengthens their presence in the UK academic landscape.
Trends in Visa Types for Indian Nationals
While the number of skilled worker visas for Indians has decreased, there has been a significant increase in ‘skilled worker – health and care’ visas. This increase, showing a 76% rise, reflects evolving trends in the types of visas sought by Indian nationals in the UK.
Global Comparison of Study Visa Recipients
The top four countries receiving UK study visas were India, China, Nigeria, and Pakistan. While Chinese nationals closely followed Indians with 1,08,978 visas granted, their numbers decreased by 7% compared to the previous year.
The changes in UK visa policy are likely to impact the number of dependent visas issued in the future. However, Indian students remain a vital part of the UK education system, and their presence is expected to continue to be strong.
The evolving trends in the types of visas sought by Indian nationals also indicate their growing interest in specific sectors of the UK economy.
(Sources: UK Office of National Statistics)