The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has highlighted his desire for Indian students to have ‘greater mobility’, in order to study at British Universities.
Mr Modi was speaking alongside the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, at the Indian-UK Tech summit, an event which was held with the aim of increasing trade between the two nations. The summit also featured discussions on defence and the links between the two nations, but it was higher education that Mr Modi was keen to focus on.
The Indian Prime Minister, in his address, stressed the importance of education and, specifically, Mr Modi promoted a ‘greater mobility’ for Indian students.
“I am happy to note that the India-U.K. Tech Summit focuses on higher education. Education is vital for our students and will define our engagement in a shared future.”
“We must therefore encourage greater mobility and participation of young people in educational and research opportunities.” Mr Modi said.
In her time as Home Secretary, Theresa May tightened visa rules, which incorporated limiting international student’s study period and also their ability to change courses.
These changes have subsequently seen the number of Indian students enrolling at UK Universities halved.
The official spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup said:“As far as the issue of student visas is concerned, yet it is true that in the last year or so the number of Indian students enrolling in UK universities has gone down by almost 50 per cent, from around 40,000 to around 20,000 now. This has happened because of restrictions on post study stay in the UK.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, however has said that the UK’s visa system is already accepting “Nine out of 10 visa applications from India” and has confirmed plans for India to be the inaugural nation to have access to the ‘registered traveller scheme’.
Mrs May said: “The UK will make India the first visa country to have access to our registered traveller scheme, offering many Indians smoother and swifter clearance at the border.”
The scheme means that Indian nationals who regularly travel to the UK may undergo an entry process that is significantly easier. The move is hoped to improve trade between the businesses of the two nations however, it is the post-study period restrictions of UK visas which appear to be a more pertinent issue, for the Indian government, as they are said to be the main reason for the decline in Indian students, at UK Universities.