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Indian Lead in UK Visas: Professionals, Students And Healthcare Workers

The latest immigration statistics from the UK Home Office, as reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the year ending September 2023, reveal a continued prominence of Indian skilled workers, medical professionals, and students in the country’s visa landscape.

Skilled Worker Visas

Indian nationals not only secured the top position in the Skilled Worker visa route but also dominated the Health and Care Visa route, according to the data. In the Skilled Worker category, there was a 9% increase in visas granted, with Indian nationals leading this growth. The ‘Skilled Worker – Health and Care’ visas experienced a substantial surge, more than doubling with a 135% increase, reaching 143,990 grants. This surge was particularly notable among Indian, Nigerian, and Zimbabwean nationals.

Health and Care Visas

While the Health and Care visa recorded a significant 76% rise in Indian applicants, the Skilled Worker route witnessed a minor decline of 11%, dropping from 20,360 visas in September 2022 to 18,107 in September 2023.

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The post-study Graduate visa route also saw significant representation from Indian nationals, constituting 43% of students granted leave to remain. Sponsored study visa grants to Indian nationals increased by 5% compared to the previous year, reaching 133,237. This marked a fivefold increase from the figures in the year ending September 2019, showcasing the growing preference for Indian students.

Visitor Visas

In the ‘Visitor’ visa category, Indian nationals held the highest proportion at 27%, followed by Chinese (19%) and Turkish nationals (6%).

However, in the category of dependants of overseas students, Indian nationals ranked second, with 43,445 dependants, following Nigerian nationals. This shift comes in response to new regulations limiting dependant family members for international students, particularly those on postgraduate research programs.

Impact of India-UK Migration and Mobility Partnership

The India-UK Migration and Mobility Partnership played a role in the voluntary returns of illegal migrants to the UK, with 64% being primarily Albanian, Indian, and Chinese nationals.

Despite the Conservative Party-led UK government’s commitment to reducing overall migration, the ONS data indicated a slight drop in figures. Net migration for the 12 months until June 2023 was 672,000, lower than the previous year’s 745,000. The top five nationalities outside the European Union (EU) for immigration flows into the UK were Indian, Nigerian, Chinese, Pakistani, and Ukrainian.

Overall Migration Trends

Jay Lindop of the ONS Centre for International Migration cautioned against premature conclusions, stating it is too early to determine if this marks the start of a new downward trend. The shifting patterns and behaviors in migration, driven by non-EU arrivals, suggest a complex landscape influenced by evolving global circumstances.

Source: Economic Times

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