Indian students keeping off UK universities?

Indian students keeping off UK universities? London: Recent changes to the student visa regime and the forthcoming closure of the post-study work visa from April 2012 has reportedly led to drop in number of Indians applying to study at British universities in the next academic year.

The post-study work visa, which enables non-EU students to work for two years in the UK after completing their courses, has been popular among self-financing Indian students, who try to recover the cost of their study by working after their course is over.

The Home Office has announced that the post-study work visa will be closed from April 2012 as part of the David Cameron government's efforts to reduce immigration.

Recent changes to the student visa regime are also driven by efforts to prevent its abuse.

According to Times Higher Education (THE), an authoritative publication focused on the higher education sector, British universities have been "hit by a downturn in demand from Indian students".

Noting that changes to the student visa regime had adversely affected international students, THE reported that "a number of institutions are seeing declines of between 20 and 30 per cent in applicant numbers from the Indian subcontinent".

THE reported in its latest issue said this is in addition to Middlesex University and the University of Greenwich, two institutions that have recruited heavily from the region and are already known to have experienced a dip in demand from India.

"The fall is thought partly to be due to negative media coverage of UK visa policies, but is also being influenced by the closure of the existing post-study work route in April 2012," it added.