Up until a decade ago, the United Kingdom was the preferred international destination for pursuing higher education for thousands of Indian students. However, with the UK government introducing strict student immigration laws in 2011, Indian students turned to newer and more welcoming shores such as Canada, Australia, and other EU countries.
The allure of pursuing higher education in the UK took another hit following the withdrawal of the post-study work visa the next year. As a result, the inflow of Indian students to the UK has gone down drastically over time.
According to the statistics (December 2017) provided by the UK Council for International Student Affairs, student numbers from India have nearly halved in a period of just five years.
Another report by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reveals a sharp decline in the number of Indian students coming to the UK from 39,090 in 2010/11 to 16,550 in 2016/17.
However, as grim as the figures might appear, the scenario may change in the near future.
Post Brexit rules will work in favour of non-EW foreign students
With Britain expected to soon formalize the cutting of its ties with the European Union (EU), Indians may have some strong reasons to opt for this country to pursue post-graduate studies.
Post Brexit, students from the EU nations will no longer have an advantage over their counterparts from the subcontinent.
Moreover, in December 2018, the UK government also proposed a post-Brexit immigration plan highlighting the economy’s need for skilled migrants. Coming into effect from 2021, the new set of rules will certainly work in the favour of non-EU foreign students.
Under the new policy, international students will be allowed to stay for up to six months after completing their graduate or post-graduate courses to find employment.
For PhD students, the post-study work period will be stretched to one year. This will create a level playing field for overseas students who aspire to secure a spot at a British university, or find a job post the completion of their academic course.
5 advantages of pursuing a Master’s degree in the UK
There are several advantages to pursuing a Master’s degree in the UK:
1. The country has retained its position as a top study destination due to the quality of educationit provides, with highly-qualified teachers along with best-in-class infrastructure and excellent research facilities.
2. Home to some of the world’s most reputed educational institutions, it offers a wide array of courses across multiple fields. From traditional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses to more specialized areas of study, the choices are aplenty.
3. Affordability is another reason why Indians prefer the UK over other countries. The relatively shorter duration of the Master’s programs (1 year) helps reduce both tuition fees and the cost of living.
4. Furthermore, the 1-year post-graduate programme gives students an early entry into the job market. The UK’s universities provide internationally-acclaimed programmes which are designed to nurture industry-ready professionals. When it comes to working opportunities, the chances of Indians grabbing a high-paying job are expected to increase significantly in the post-Brexit era.
5. Moreover, to fill the vacuum caused by the declining number of applicants from EU member states, the UK’s top universities are expected to welcome students from India and China with open arms.
In the wake of Brexit, more Indians are likely to flock to the UK in their quest for higher education and the numbers reflect this shift.
As many as 19,750 Indian students made their way to the UK in 2017-18, marking a significant year-on-year increase. The number of post-graduate students, especially, is on the rise.
A post-graduate degree from any British university opens many doors for students.
In addition to the extended post-study work period, the proposal to remove the cap on the number of skilled foreign workers will also act as a determining factor for Indians planning their overseas education.
Considering the upcoming prospects, it’s no secret that this is the most opportune time for international students to enrol themselves into post-graduate programmes within the UK.
With most universities still giving out confirmation emails, this year will undoubtedly see a surge in the number of Indians going to the United Kingdom for educational purposes.