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UK Govt Issued Substantial Number Of Study Visas In 2021
The UK Govt's Home Office has notified a historical high in terms of the number of study visas...

by Sukanya Bharti / 03 Dec 2021 10:09 AM IST / 0 Comment(s) / 55

The UK Govt's Home Office has notified a historical high in terms of the number of study visas. The UK Govt issued record-breaking visas to international students and their dependents in 2021, notified the Home Office.

At the year-end i.e, September 2021, the UK immigration officials issued a total of 428,428 study visas, which is 29% more than the last high i.e. 307,744 achieved over a decade ago, in June 2010.

This year's visa numbers are 55% more than year-end Sept 2019 and 143% more than year-end Sept 2020.

The UK Govt also informed that around 90% of the visas were issued to students and around 91% of them are in higher education. The UK government states, "90% of the study visas issued are to main applicants, compared with 68% for Work visas".

In 2021, most of the visas (hundreds of thousands of visas) have been issued to non-EU students and the EU/ EEA students constitute only around 09% of the total number of visas i.e. 20,775.

The number of visas issued to Indian students just about tripled from 2019 and is 90,970. Over 135,450 visas were issued to Chinese students.

The growth began in Sept 2020 and gathered momentum into the summer of 2021. The surge spiked in August and September 2021.

Main Reasons Impacting Growth In Visa Numbers:

  • The UK Graduate Route and new immigration rules are the main reasons behind the growth. Under the Graduate Route, the international students can apply in July 2021 as this allow the students who have graduated from UK universities to stay in the country for 02 to 03 years after completing their education to work or look for work.

  • The students who either started distance education or took a break and are now resuming did not apply for a visa at that period could be another reason as they are returning to the in-person educational environment.

  • The UK's popularity graph has always grown upwards, even before the COVID situation.

Nigerians Among the Top Visa Holders

Although India and China are in the top positions by far for UK visas, Nigeria is another country growing extremely fast, as a total of 36,783 visas were issued to Nigerian nationals in 2021. This amounts to a +347% change from Sept 2020. This has come as welcome news for the UK educators as the past decade has seen a significant downgrade for the UK in Nigeria as compared to other destinations.

The visa growth to Pakistani nationals spiked by 225%, whereas a tremendous growth was seen from Bangladesh with +410% making it the sixth-largest source of students.

The number of study visas issued to Americans grew by only 3% from 2019 – more in line with growth trends from the EU than what we see from Asia and Africa.

The US international education sector growth is also recovering but not as significant as the UK. The UK's new post-study work rights will clearly rebound the depressed demand for UK education in the international market.

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