Chennai

Students, consultants upbeat about U.K.’s new visa rules

The United Kingdom recently brought cheer to Indian students aspiring to study there by extending their stay by two years after graduation.

Students can now work or look for work at any skill level. There will be no cap on the number of students who can apply.

Consultancy firms across the State say they are flooded with inquiries, even from those who had graduated earlier from institutions in the U.K.

“The Department of Education has said the new work visa will apply to those who start courses from 2020-21 at UG level or above. There is no clarity if the new rule will be applicable for the January intake or August intake,” says a representative in a consultancy firm in Tiruchi.

“Students get a rich environment in U.K. universities to chart a bright future. But, how many are focussed on strengthening their skills? It is common to find a large number of students, particularly from affluent families, who see a U.K. degree as a status symbol, wasting opportunities,” rues S. Sivakumar, CEO of Trichy Plus.

Deepa Srinivasan, branch manager of Coimbatore-based IDP Education, says enquiries are expected to go up to 40% from around 25% prior to the announcement. Prabakaran Srinivasan of Imperial Pathways says the U.K.’s one-year masters programme, against two years in other countries, was an added attraction.

Some candidates want to return to the U.K. for another programme, he adds as they can avail themselves of the 25% alumni discount and renew their efforts for a job.

Coming back to India

Madurai-based A. Aladi Arun, CEO of AK Consultants, has seen a surge in enquiries. “Students want to study outside of India and return to base after working there for a couple of years,” he observes.

Janaka Pushpanathan, director, South India, British Council, says the ‘New Graduate Route’ scheme would not apply to students currently enrolled in various programmes.

“In 2018-19, the U.K. government and the British Council offered 480 scholarships, worth approximately £4.675m, to Indian students,” she says.

A total of 162 scholarships were awarded to Indian women to pursue a master’s programme in STEM subjects in 2018 and 2019, and 68 (almost 42%) of these scholars were from south India,” she adds.

During the same period, 29 GREAT scholarships were awarded to Indian students, of which 11 (38%) were from south India. The number of Indian students had risen 42% over the previous year ending June 2019, she says.

Citing the Indian Graduate Outcomes 2019 study, she points out that 80% of the Indian respondents felt they earned well above average, thanks to their U.K. degrees. Also, 82% of the Indian respondents were satisfied in their careers.

(With inputs from R. Krishnamoorthy in Tiruchi, Karthik Madhavan in Coimbatore and Sanjana Ganesh in Madurai)

Article source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/students-consultants-upbeat-about-uks-new-visa-rules/article29753563.ece

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