Sunday, March 3, 2013

British visas issued to Indians fall by 20%

The number of Indians receiving visas to travel to the UK, either to work or study, fell by nearly 20% over a year, according to the latest immigration data from the government's office of national statistics (ONS).

ONS data showed that the number of visas issued to Indians dipped by 18,365 -- a fall of 19% -- between 2011 and 2012. These figures do not exclude visitor and transit visas.

Pakistanis were the worst hit, recording a whopping 48% fall in visas issued to visit the UK.

Asian nationals accounted for 273,927 (54%) of the 507,701 visas issued in 2012, with India and China each accounting for 15% of the total.

Between the year ending December 2011 and year ending December 2012, the nationalities with particularly large changes in visas issued were Pakistanis (down 25,841 or 48%), Indians (down 18,365 or 19%), Sri Lankans (down 4,202 or 45%), Bangladeshis (down 3,175 or 30%). The Chinese, however, gained, with the number of visas issued rising by 7,050 or +10%.

Indian fears that new visa rules were making it difficult for students to study in the UK have also been proved right.

In the year ending December 2012, there were 209,804 visas issued for the purpose of study (excluding student visitors), a fall of 20% compared with the previous 12 months.

Though sponsored visa applications fell 22%, this change was not uniform, with a 3% increase for the university sector and declines of 62%, 69% and 14% for further education, English language schools and independent schools.

According to ONS, "There was a significant decrease in the number of citizens from new Commonwealth countries like India immigrating to the UK from 168,000 the previous year to 117,000 in the year ending June 2012. This decrease is a result of fewer new Commonwealth citizens arriving to study in the UK."

Immigration to the UK fell from 589,000 to 515,000, its lowest since 2003.

According to the ONS, net migration decreased in the year ending June 2012 to 163,000 from 247,000 in the year to June previously.

ONS said "The latest data on study visas issued in the UK, (excluding student visitors, but which can also include people intending to stay in the UK for less than a year) show that in the year to December 2012, there were 209,804 visas issued for the purpose of study, which was a fall of 20% compared with the previous 12 months. There was also a 22% fall for sponsored student visa applications to 210,111 in the year ending December 2012.

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