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UK Sees Decline in International Student Interest Amid Visa Review



A potential shakeup in the UK’s post-study work visa program is leading to a significant drop in international student applications, particularly impacting universities across the country.

This trend has sparked worry among educators, policymakers, and industry stakeholders about its potential repercussions on academic diversity, economic vitality, and the vibrancy of the UK’s higher education landscape.


Key Findings

1. A survey of 75 universities by the British Universities’ International Liaison Association revealed a 90% drop in applications from international students for the upcoming academic year.

2. Applications for postgraduate courses, a popular choice for international students, have seen a 27% decline compared to last year.

Decline in Indian Student Applications

Recent statistics from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) highlight a 4% drop in applications from Indian students to British universities for the current academic year.


This decline is attributed to various factors, including ongoing governmental reviews of the Graduate Route visa, which allows graduates to stay and gain work experience for at least two years after completing their degree.

Uncertainty Over Graduate Visa Program

The primary reason for this decline is the ongoing review of the Graduate Route visa, which allows international graduates to work in the UK for up to two years after completing their studies.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is currently evaluating the program, and the government’s decision based on their findings is causing significant uncertainty.


Also Read: UK Slams Door on Student Spouses: Visa Application Plunge 80%

Impact on Universities and the Economy

Universities UK, the national voice for universities, warns that any restrictions on the graduate visa could have a devastating impact. The program brings significant financial benefits through tuition fees and fosters a diverse academic environment.

Creative Industries Fear Talent Drain

The UK’s thriving creative sector, valued at £108 billion annually, also expresses concern.


A joint letter from Creative UK and Universities UK urges the government to maintain the program, highlighting its importance in attracting and retaining talented graduates who contribute to the industry’s growth.

The Road Ahead

The UK government emphasizes its commitment to balancing net migration control with attracting skilled international students. However, the future of the Graduate Route visa remains unclear, leaving universities and international students in a state of wait-and-see.

Also Read: 5 Key Visa Rule Changes Every International Student Should Know!


What to Watch For

  • The Migration Advisory Committee’s official report on the Graduate Route visa.
  • The UK government’s final decision on the program’s future.
  • The potential long-term impact on international student enrollment in UK universities.

This situation highlights the delicate balance between immigration policies and the economic and educational benefits of attracting international students. As the situation unfolds, it’s crucial to monitor the government’s decision and its potential consequences for both universities and the wider UK economy.

Must Read: UK Increases Minimum Salary for Family Visa Sponsorship by Over 55%

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