Indian students, intending to join UK universities, will continue to go through the strenuous visa application process Image: Thinkstock
UK's revised student visa reforms just snubbed Indian students in a major way, and the consequences don't look good.
The UK government has kept India out of its list of countries which are eligible for easier student visas. The UK Home Office recently announced a relaxation of the Tier 4 visa category for overseas students from around 25 countries.
On a list already covering countries like the US, Canada and New Zealand, the Home Office has added the likes of China, Bahrain and Serbia as countries from where students will face reduced checks on educational, financial and English language skill requirements to study at British universities.
The changes, which come into effect on July 6, aim to make it easier for international students to come to study in the UK.
However, India has been left out of this newly expanded list, which means Indian students applying for similar courses will continue to face rigorous checks and documentary requirements.
This has, of course, caused a lot of outrage among people in the country. Indian students will have it a lot harder than their contemporaries from China, Bahrain and Serbia.
How difficult is the road ahead for Indian students? Talking to T2 Online about the repercussion of this move, educationist Karan Gupta says, "The UK has sent out a clear message to Indian students through the new set of student visa rules. The fact that it has streamlined the rules for China says it all. The UK government clearly doesn't want the influx of Indian students. Earlier, the number of Indian students applying for UK universities was somewhere around 60,000. Now the number has reduced to 15,000."
"The work visa rules for Indian students in the UK is also skewed. Indian students fail to get a job in the UK after the completion of their courses. And now, this new change clearly shows that the UK government is anti-Indian students," adds Gupta.
Experts call it a direct dig at the Indian government which refused to adhere to the UK's demand for the return of illegal Indian immigrants. During PM Narendra Modi's visit to the UK this April, the UK government asked the Indian PM to sign a memorandum of understanding, which PM Modi refused to.
Though a UK home office spokesperson claims that as many as 90 per cent of Indians applying for a UK student visa, get one, Lord Karan Bilimoria, head of the UK Council for International Student Affairs, believes that the move comes as an insult to India. "This clearly shows UK's economically illiterate and hostile attitude to immigration. I consider this another kick in the teeth for India," he told PTI.