London: The number of overseas students coming to study in Britain from Commonwealth countries like India and Pakistan has dwindled from one lakh to 35,000 in the past three years, according to the latest immigration report published today.
The official report issued by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) indicated a steep decline in students from India and other Commonwealth countries opting other international destinations for studies.
"The number of overseas students coming to study in Britain from Commonwealth countries such as India and Pakistan had fallen from one lakh to 35,000 in the past three years", the report said.
UK University bodies and critics of the country`s immigration policy have been warning the UK government over toughening visa policies driving overseas students, who pay much higher fees, to other countries such as the US and Australia.
Most recently, a House of Lords committee had accused the government of creating an unwelcoming atmosphere for international students from countries like India.
"It is important to note that both India and China are important markets for UK universities seeking to attract international students they`re getting the cold shoulder and heading elsewhere.
The rules are seen as too complex and subject to endless changes, the visa costs are not competitive, and the rules relating to work after study are so limiting that prospective students are heading to the US, Australia, Canada and elsewhere," the Lords Science and Technology Committee had said in a report last month.
The official migration figures, released on the day the UK is voting in its European Union elections, also show a rise in the arrival of EU citizens to the UK in the year to December 2013.
The ONS found that 201,000 EU citizens came into the UK as long-term immigrants, seen as a statistically significant increase of 43,000 over the previous year.