America’s loss is UK’s gain? Indians turning to UK for work, study

Indians get half of all skilled work visas in UK;  93% increase in Indian students.

That American Dream is fast losing its sheen for many Indians has been apparent in the sudden dip seen in the number of Indian students considering the US as a great study option.

And even though, the number of Indians seeking employment based visas such as H-1B continues to still exceed the yearly cap, immigration trends do suggest that Indians, including those living in the US are looking at other immigrant friendly countries as their prospective destinations.

While Canada continues to benefit from restrictive and drawn-out US immigration process, United Kingdom is fast becoming another preferred destination for Indians.

UK is attracting Indians not just for work and study but also for leisure travel. Latest statistics show an uptick in the number of Indian tourists visiting destinations such as London and Manchester.

ALSO READ: New US visa rules makes migrating to Canada more attractive for Indian professionals (April 5, 2019)

So, what exactly is drawing many Indians to look at the Big Ben instead of the Big Apple, may have also something to do with the easing of immigration policies for skilled Indians by UK.

According to the latest UK Immigration Statistics published on Feb 27, there is a staggering increase in the number of Indians obtaining both work-based as well as study visas in the UK.

Indian nationals received over 57,000 Tier 2 skilled work visas last year. This accounts for over 50% of all skilled work visas granted globally – meaning more were granted to Indians than the rest of the world combined.

But it’s not just the skilled professionals who are navigating their way towards UK, more and more Indian students are also making a beeline to the United Kingdom.

ALSO READ: After Canada, United Kingdom opening doors with new points based system (February 19, 2020)

Statistics show that over 37,500 Indian students received a study visa in 2019, showing a staggering 93% increase over the previous year.

Indian students were issued the largest number of visas over the last eight years. This strong upward trend continuing since 2016 has made Indians the fastest growing nationality for student visas.

This follows a series of visa policy announcements by the UK, including the establishment of a new Graduate route (allowing eligible students to stay in the UK for two years post study) and the introduction of a new points-based immigration system.

Apart from immigration, the UK continues to be a popular destination for Indian holiday makers. More than 515,000 Indian nationals received visit visas last year – an 8% increase compared to the previous year.

In 2019, 95% of Indian nationals who applied for a UK visa were successful, an increase of 5% over the previous year.

“This phenomenal increase in student visa numbers is testament both to the UK’s world leading education system and to the exceptional talents of Indian students,” said Jan Thompson, Acting British High Commissioner to India.

“We couldn’t be prouder that the best and brightest continue to pick the UK, making the living bridge between our countries stronger each day,” he said.

Barbara Wickham, Director India, British Council, said: “It is exciting to see so many Indian students trusting the UK as the destination for their education and furthering their careers. This bodes very well for both countries’ continued focus on realizing their knowledge ambitions in a fast changing world.”


  1. Very well written article. But now the migration will be more complicated due to this pandemic. check the new migration policy.

  2. Vince Civiletto

    Let them go to China, Taiwan or Hong Kong … neither country’s nationals are welcome here any more.

  3. Mark Hernandez

    We’ll take it

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