By: Pramod Thomas
INDIANS top the tally of skilled worker and student visas issued by the UK over the past year, according to official immigration statistics released on Thursday (25).
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data collated by the UK Home Office shows that Indians were the top nationality for cross-sector skilled work, including specifically targeted healthcare visas aimed at filling staff shortages in the NHS.
They also made up the largest group of students granted visas under the new Graduate post-study work route, representing 41 per cent of grants.
“Indian nationals were the top nationality for visas in the ‘Worker’ category, representing one third (33 per cent) of grants, and were by far the top nationality for both the ‘Skilled Worker’ and ‘Skilled Worker – Health and Care’ visas,” the Home Office said.
“A total of 92,951 graduate route extensions were granted to previous students in the year ending March 2023. Indian nationals represented the largest group of students granted leave to remain on the Graduate route, representing 41 per cent of grants.”
According to the latest statistics, skilled worker visas granted to Indians rose 63 per cent, from 13,390 in 2021-22 to 21,837 in 2022-23. In the healthcare visa category, Indians registered an even higher 105 per cent hike from 14,485 to 29,726.
“There were 138,532 sponsored study visa grants to Indian nationals in year ending March 2023, an increase of 53,429 (+63 per cent) compared to year ending March 2022 and the largest number of study visas granted to any nationality. Grants to study for Indians have risen markedly since year ending March 2019 and are now around seven times higher,” data shows.
“Nigeria had the highest number of dependants (66,796) of sponsored study visa holders in the year ending March 2023, increasing from 27,137 in the year ending March 2022. Indian nationals had the second highest number of dependants, increasing from 22,598 to 42,381.”
The latest data comes days after UK home secretary Suella Braverman announced a clampdown on the right of student visa holders to bring dependent family members, limiting it only to PhD level students.
The latest ONS figures revealed that net migration to the UK hit a record 606,000 in 2022-23, up from 504,000 in the previous year and driven by a sharp rise in workers and students from outside the European Union (EU).