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British PM Set To Rollback Tough Visa Restrictions

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The British PM’s office is said to have concluded that there is a genuine risk of students from outside the European Union, particularly from India, turning their backs on Britain if they confront too many immigration barriers.

British Prime Minister David Cameron looks set to roll back tough visa restrictions imposed by his government on foreign students – the largest numbers coming from China and India – following reports that the United Kingdom’s £8 billion annual income from this source could be endangered as a result of a decline in applications for the academic year commencing next autumn. Britain’s Sunday Times quoted a source in Cameron’s office as saying, “The Prime Minister understands these arguments and is definitely considering a change of policy.”

India has been lobbying with UK on the issue at every opportunity, including at meetings of cabinet ministers, and the high commission is playing an active part in this respect. Within the British cabinet, secretary of state for business, innovation & skills, Vince Cable, too, has championed this cause.

One in 10 undergraduate or postgraduate students in the UK comes from outside the country, with China followed by India providing the main inflow. With Britain scrapping post-study visas, those outside the EU who can afford to pay full fee for university education in the UK have been deterred from doing so.

Germany, a low-cost, high-quality higher studies destination is also opening up for Indians, thereby threatening to pose serious competition to British institutions.

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