British High Commissioner to India James Bevan goes on the charm offensive to show that the UK is open for business.
In an attempt to tackle the “myth” that Indian students can no longer work in the UK following completion of their studies, Mr Bevan spoke recently saying the situation is in fact quite the opposite.
Mr Bevan gave a speech in India, claiming Indian students could remain in the UK to work for up to six years as long as they get “graduate-level jobs” paying at least £25,000 per year.
His speech was in response to the large drop in the number of UK student visas being granted to Indian students. The numbers of Indian students being granted a student visa have dropped from 30,000 in 2011 to 20,000 in 2012. Mr Bevan did admit his belief was that the UK’s tougher student visa regulations were to blame, particularly the removal of the Post-Study Work route, which allowed students to remain in the UK and work for two years following their studies, at whatever level and salary.
Mr Bevan did reaffirm the UK Coalition Government’s aim of attracting more Pune and Indian students to the UK: “Eight of ten Indian students who applied for student visas got them. Any genuine student will get a visa. One of the reasons for the drop is also that for four to five years, many Indian students were getting enrolled in low quality or fake universities mainly for the purpose of working in the UK. Now, the number of students has reduced but the quality has gone up.”
However, on his second trip to Pune since becoming High Commissioner in May, Mr Bevan added that there was a real drive for UK educators to open overseas campuses in India, and Pune in particular, as it is often referred to as “the Oxford of the East.” He said, “The Northampton University and Lavasa are thinking of a tie-up, which should fructify in the near future.”
Bevan also stated he wanted to see more British investment in Pune and more Indian investment in Britain: “From a business perspective, we are keen on investing in sectors like automobiles, aerospace and information technology, in which Pune has a strong foothold.”
Little information was provided during his speech to backup his claim that Indian students would be able to work for a further six years after graduation. Your comments are most welcome.