UK student visa issuance increases

05 December, 2013

The number of student visas for non-EU nationals issued in the UK increased by three per cent in the year ending September 2013, while student visitor visas increased by 15 per cent, according to the latest immigration statistics released this week by the government.

The total number of student visas issued rose by 6,052 to 216,895. In source market trends, there were notable increases in student visas of 12 months or longer issued to students from China (up by 4,685 or eight per cent), Malaysia (+2,120 or 27 per cent), Brazil (+1,817 or 133 per cent), Iraq (+1,400 or 70 per cent) and Libya (+1,341 or 96 per cent).

In contrast, there was a decline of 60 per cent (8,165) in student visas issued to Pakistani nationals and a drop of 24 per cent (4,343) to Indian students.

In terms of study-related sponsored visa applications, there was a slight rise of 109 to 211,100 in the year ending September 2013, compared with the previous year. Sponsored student visa (12-month+) applications for the university sector increased by seven per cent to 167,262, a rise that masked declines in the other education export sectors: further education colleges fell by 31 per cent to 23,145, English language schools were down eight per cent to 3,446, and independent schools fell by two per cent to 13,763.

As at the end of September 2013, there were 1,708 institutions on the highly trusted sponsor register, 14 per cent less than at the same time last year.

There was more positive news in the short-term education export sectors, as student visitor visas (including the six-month study permit and the 11-month extended student visitor visa for language schools) rose by 15 per cent to 76,672.

The increase in student visitor visas issued reflects recent comments from language school association English UK in Study Travel Magazine's global market report that 2013 has been a more successful year, compared with the disruption caused by the Olympics last year.

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