UK study visa applications down 27% in two years

 In News

The numbers of individuals intending to enter the UK using a study visa has dropped to record lows since the pandemic, new data for the beginning of 2024 shows.

Statistics from the government show that applications for main applicants hoping to study in the UK have fallen to 34,000 in the first three months of 2024. Two years ago in 2022, some 46,900 applied for main applicant visas.

After new government rules banning masters taught students from bringing dependents came into force on January 1, total dependent study visa applications have fallen from 23,800 in January, February and March 2022, to 6,700 in the first three months of this year.

The Home Office says that it is necessary to wait for the peak in student applications for the next academic year in August or September to see “the full effect of recent policy changes and any other impacts”. Others disagree.


Photo: Home Office

It comes after the sector has warned that recent policy changes the government has introduced is already dampening appetite to study in the UK among prospective international students.

For Diana Beech, CEO of London Higher, the drop in applications in the first three months of 2024 shows “the real effect that changes to the dependant visa, the recent increase to application fees and health surcharges, and the graduate visa review are having on the confidence international students have in the UK”.

“It is now clear that the US has overtaken us as the top preferred study destination”

“Unfortunately, we don’t know how many of the ‘brightest and best’ have been deterred from applying to the UK as a result, but it is now clear that the US has overtaken us as the top preferred study destination,” she added.

A new survey from IDP Connect this week showed that the US is top among a survey of more than 11,500 students from 117 countries – for the first time ahead of Australia, Canada and the UK.

Similar conclusions were found earlier this year in surveys from both aecc – which found New Zealand, Germany and the United States were rising in popularity – and a survey of Indian students carried out by Oxford International Education Services finding US was the top preferred destination.

London Higher, which is soon to launch its Study London campaign, says it sees no reason why any additional changes should be imposed on the graduate route.

“We know the government had concerns about the amount of dependants entering the country and this move has reduced them,” Beech said.

“We now see no reason why there should be any additional changes imposed to the graduate route, so we hope to see a positive recommendation from the MAC on this in a few weeks’ time.

“We also hope this will be considered fairly by government without pandering to popular politics.”

The post UK study visa applications down 27% in two years appeared first on The PIE News.

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