21 Aug 2021 21:45 IST

Students keen on studying in the UK despite Covid

Popular subjects at the undergraduate and post graduate levels continue to be business and engineering

The pandemic-induced slowdown and travel restrictions notwithstanding, there has been a steady rise in the number of Indian students studying in the UK over the past few years. According to Janaka Pushpanathan, Director — South India, British Council, there has been a 13 per cent increase in the number of Indian students receiving tier 4 (study) visa in FY-21.

Based on the data shared by UK Immigrations office in March 2020, over 49,800 Indian students received a tier 4 (study) visa in the FY-20. The number increased to 56,093 between April 2020 and March 2021. It (56,093 tier 4 visas to Indian students) account for almost one-fourth of the total student visas issued by the UK in FY-21.




“There has been an increase in the number of Indian students going to UK for UG and PG programmes. Despite the pandemic there has been an increasing interest in UK because of the quality of education, the wide variety of courses offered and the quality of sponsorships,” Pushpanathan told BusinessLine on Campus.

The new Graduate Route, launched on July 1, 2021, which enables international students to work, or look for work in the UK, at any skill level for two years (three years for PhD graduates) after graduation, has also been a reason for students preferring study in UK.

Indians, in fact, are one of the largest groups of the UK’s international student community. The visa issue rate for Indian students is 96 per cent, which is well above the global average.

British Council had launched a survey to understand student sentiment during the pandemic and to see how students were adapting their study abroad plans. According to the survey, nearly 65 per cent of Indian undergraduates and 59 per cent of postgraduates who had planned to study in the UK in 2020-21 said they are “not at all likely” to cancel or delay their plans.

“This year most institutes have opened up their face-to-face classes and we are seeing a large number of students applying for visa and making up their minds for travel this year. We expect an increase in the number of Indian students going to UK this year over last year,” she said.

India has been removed from the red list and now appears in the UK’s ‘amber list’ of countries. This is also likely to work in favour of Indian students, she said.

Most popular courses

According to the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA), the most popular courses for international students in the UK are business and administrative studies, engineering and technology, social studies, subjects allied to medicine, creative arts and design and biological sciences among others.

For Indian students, popular subjects at the undergraduate and post graduate levels continue to be business and engineering but there has been an increased interest in subjects such as social sciences, law, architecture, building and planning.

British Council organised a ‘Study UK Virtual Fair’ on Saturday to support students to make an informed decision by getting direct access to representatives from 35 UK universities – including 9 Russell Group universities. The fair was also attended by education counsellors and other specialists such as UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on a range of themes including selection, application process, visas and scholarships among others.