Rishi Sunak’s recent UK visa policy changes seem to be already impacting the enrollment of international students for the January 2024 intake in UK universities. According to the data revealed by Enroly Data Insights, a significant number of enrollment figures have declined.
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When compared to January 2023, the following changes were witnessed:
- 52% slide in deposit payments
- 64% decline in issuance of Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
- 71% dive in visa issuance
There was also a reduction of 52% in deposit payments in the South Asian markets and a reduction of 66% in CAS/visa issuance.
Concerns have been raised about these trends by industry experts. The decline, according to an expert, is the result of general anti-immigration rhetoric, bans, and delays in obtaining visas. He believes that these factors harm the UK’s standing as a top destination for higher education.
He notes that enrollment for January courses has dropped by 40–60% and predicts that September 2024 courses will see an additional 20% decline.
It appears from differing perspectives that this trend may not be very important. According to another expert, the dwindling numbers are a natural reversion following several strong years. However, he does accept that international students could choose other destinations due to the uncertainty of the new visa policies.
A career counsellor has further added that enrollment numbers in January are usually lower since many programmes commence in September. However, he commented that the new policies of the UK government have left international students feeling unwelcome.
Due to difficulties, which include not being able to meet the minimum wage requirements in the UK for a skilled work visa, students are thinking of travelling to other countries more and more. Students are diverting from the UK to other countries due to factors such as:
- The reopening of Australia
- Five-year post-study work visa in France
- Improved relations with Canada
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Nearly 300,000 individuals are affected by the new policy changes of the UK Home Office; this includes a threefold increase in skilled migrants’ minimum pay and the restriction on bringing dependents of foreign care workers into the country.
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