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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

9 out of 10 Indian students polled think peers will be put off studying in UK

New polling shows not being able to work after study is an issue.

From a survey of 500 young people in India looking to study abroad nine in ten say the UK's restriction on their ability to work after studying could put off 'most' or 'some' students, according to new Ipsos MORI polling for the think tank IPPR.

More than half (54 per cent) of prospective students polled in India said being able to work after study was 'extremely important'. But the UK's post-study work visa was scrapped last year. Foreign students from outside the EU who want to work in the UK after they graduate have to make a separate visa application and qualify for employment through the UK's strict points-based system

The number of Indian students studying at UK universities fell by nearly a quarter last year according to new IPPR analysis. Numbers dropped to under 30,000 compared with almost 40,000 the previous year.

The polling shows that 80 per cent of the prospective Indian students surveyed see the UK as a favourable destination and 70 per cent were considering coming here to study. But 1 in 3 respondents who had applied to study in the UK found the application process difficult, compared to just 1 in 8 who applied to study in Australia.

India sends the second highest number of students to study abroad after China. The share of Indian students worldwide has doubled since 2000.The UK is the second most popular destination for these students, with a market share of 13 per cent in 2011.

Alice Sachrajda, researcher at IPPR, said:

"We cannot continue to rely on the world class reputation of the UK's universities and colleges alone to attract foreign students. Other English-speaking countries such as Australia have an easier application process and more attractive rights to work after completing studies, and we will continue to lose students to our competitors unless we make urgent changes.

"By making it easier for students to work here after they've completed their courses, we are offering an economic incentive to foreign students, who through their skills and hard work will help the UK economy to grow.

"The UK needs to maintain its vigilance over abuse of the student visa route, shutting down bogus colleges and ensuring that economic migrants can't enter the country posing as students. But the UK's Higher and Further education sectors are one of our leading industries and current policies are causing severe and unnecessary damage to the sector."

Notes to Editors

Polling commissioned by IPPR and carried out by Ipsos MORI in September 2013 in seven Indian cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Calcutta, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai) on 500 young people aged between 16-30 who were interested in studying abroad.

When told the UK government has restricted the right of students to work in the UK after completing their studies, 91 per cent thought that this would put off either 'most' or 'some' students.

IPPR's new report 'Britain wants you! Why the UK should commit to increasing international student numbers' will be available here from Thursday 28 Nov: http://www.ippr.org/publication/55/11534/britain-wants-you-why-the-uk-should-commit-to-increasing-international-student-numbers

IPPR's report 'One step forward, two steps back: evaluating the institutions of British immigration policymaking' is available here: http://www.ippr.org/publication/55/10679/one-step-forward-two-steps-back-evaluating-the-institutions-of-british-immigration-policymaking

IPPR's report 'Student migration in the UK' is available here: http://www.ippr.org/publication/55/1824/student-migration-in-the-uk