Universities Minister, Greg Clark, has visited India in an attempt to mend the relationship between the UK and India and reverse the image that Britain is an unwelcoming country. In recent years the UK has seen a drop in the number of Indian students attending British universities.
In the governmentís attempt to reduce immigration, tighter visa requirements have been implemented aimed at preventing illegal immigration and students outstaying their time within the UK. This has contributed to a 15% drop in the number of Indian students enrolling within UK university institutions.
Tighter visa rules have apparently given the impression to Indian students that the UK is an unwelcoming country therefore Indian international students have been rejecting UK universities in place of other European universities.
Greg Clark has led a number of university vice-chancellors to Delhi in an attempt to mend this fracturing relationship. ìThere have been concerns expressed in India about how welcoming we will be towards students studying in the UKî, Clark said.
ìWe not only want to extend the most cordial of welcomes to Indian students but we want to say further there is no cap on the number of studentsî.
The visit will be an attempt to build on the already significant higher education links the two nations already share. This move hopes to increase numbers of academically gifted Indian students coming to the UK, which would be beneficial for the UK economy.
Professor Christopher Snowden argued this move is necessary and to attract the best of the best to UK universities. He claims that this will encourage many international students to stay in the UK for a period after graduation having a positive contribution towards the UK economy.
Despite the drop in Indian students over the past year, Greg Clark insists that the UK is still amongst the most popular destination for overseas students. India has the second highest number of overseas students studying at UK universities, while China is the biggest contributor of overseas students.
Clark has also spoken about increasing the number of British students studying in India. At the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Higher Education Summit the minister announced a new initiative called Generation UK India which aimed to place 25,000 UK students on short term internships or teaching assistantships in India.