LONDON: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called on the UK government to add India to the list of low-risk countries offered a more simplified student visa application process, asserting that it is vital the country maintains its reputation for higher education excellence.
In a letter to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid, the 47-year-old Pakistani-origin mayor expressed his “deep concern” at India being excluded from a recently expanded list of countries from where overseas students can access a more streamlined university application process.
“It is vital the UK maintains its reputation for higher education excellence. The number of Indian students choosing to study in the UK has declined significantly over the last decade,” Khan said in a statement.
“I’m urging him [Sajid Javid] to both add India to the scheme and also to review the UK’s broader approach to attracting international student talent, including post-study opportunities,” he said.
Last month, the UK Home Office had announced that citizens of 11 additional countries – including China, Serbia, Bahrain and Mexico – would be able to access a streamlined process to apply for Tier 4 student visas to study at UK universities.
India was conspicuous by its absence on that list, leading to an outcry among student groups and other senior leaders.
According to the London Mayor’s office, the number of Indian students coming to the UK is falling – from a peak of nearly 24,000 a year in 2010-11 to a low of around 9,000 a year in 2015-16.