Rejections double as study visas fall 32% in Q4 2023

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The UK’s five priority markets of India, Nigeria, Vietnam, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia all saw study visa rejection rates rise in the second half of last year.

In the last quarter of last year, visa rejections for students more than doubled to 10,530 from 4,837 in Q4 2022.

The overall number of study visas fell by 32%, from 116,974 in Q4 2022 to 78,700 in the same quarter in 2023.

Figures from the government, released last week, show that 5% fewer study visas were granted to main applicants when compared with 2022. The latter half of the year paints a more worrying picture.

In India, one in 44 applications were rejected in Q4 2022. A year later, this rose to around one in nine.

Likewise in key market, Nigeria, Q4 2022 saw one in 31 application rejected, while in Q4 2023, around one in eight were.

Vietnam, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia all saw visa rejection rates increase, albeit at smaller increments.

Beyond the five key markets includes in the UK international education strategy, revised in 2021, Pakistan saw rejections rise to 1,559 in Q4 last year, more than double the number of study visas rejected in the full previous year. In 2022, a total 720 applications were rejected from Pakistan.

It is expected that the total number of visa rejections from prospective students in Pakistan have risen as total issued visas rose from 36,021 in 2022 to 48,562 in 2023. However, rejection rates grew at a faster rate from 760 in 2022 to 3,044 in 2023.

One stakeholder working with a UK university has already warned that there is a perception that UKVI is intentionally delaying visas in Pakistan.


Interactive chart available here.

Study visa issuance in the last six months of 2023 fell for both India and Nigeria compared with the previous year.

Vietnam fell from 2,078 to 2,056 in the second of 2023, while both Indonesia and Saudi Arabia rose slightly to 3,123 and 6,664, respectively.

“The government took decisive action at the end of last year to deliver the largest migration cut ever”

While visa grant rates for India fell from 99% down to 95% and Nigeria from 97% to 94% across the full 2023 year, other markets are also impacted.

For 2023, grant rates for those in Ghana fell from 89% in 2022 to 80% and Sri Lanka from 99% to 93%.

A spokesperson from the home office said that both the prime minister and the home secretary “have been clear that current levels of migration to the UK are far too high”.

“[That is] why the government took decisive action at the end of last year to deliver the largest migration cut ever,” they said.

The latest statistics pre-date the package of measures that were announced last year, they added. Those measures, including the ban on postgraduate taught students from bringing family members, will “deliver the long-term reduction the public expect to see”.


Interactive chart available here.

“Our fair and robust reforms will mean 300,000 people who came to the UK last year would now not be able to come,” the spokesperson said.

They did not confirm that government is intentionally delaying student visa processing.

The post Rejections double as study visas fall 32% in Q4 2023 appeared first on The PIE News.

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