London: Enrolment of students from India at the UK universities declined by a "worrying" 12 per cent last year, partly due to the government's clampdown on student visas and tough rhetoric on immigration, according to official statistics.
Students from India declined by 12 per cent and Pakistan by 7 per cent, however, the United Kingdom received more Chinese foreign students than from the whole of the European Union, The Independent said, citing official data.
The report said that the government's clampdown on student visas and tough rhetoric on immigration had put many off coming to the UK.
Gordon Slaven, the British Council's director of higher education, described the decline of students from India and Pakistan as "worrying" and warned that the UK needed to be more proactive or risk losing talented students to competitor countries such as the US and Australia.
"It is very pleasing that the overall figures for non-EU students coming to the UK has increased by 3 per cent. But this headline figure does disguise one worrying trend; the decrease of students coming from India by 12 per cent and Pakistan by 7 per cent... While the UK sector can be pleased that the overall numbers have increased, our competitor countries such as the US and Australia have shown much more significant increases," he was quoted by the report as saying.
The number of international students, however, rose by 3 per cent to 310,195, the figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed, the report said.
Nicola Dandridge, the chief executive of Universities UK, said, problems remain with recruitment from India. There is growing demand for quality higher education around the world, so the UK should be capitalising on this, rather than seeing the stagnation of the past few years.
Under current rules, international students can remain in Britain for four months to search for graduate jobs, which critics have already argued is too harsh compared with the US, Canada and Australia which allow 12 months.