Interest in study visas will soar in 2023, registering a 23 per cent increase compared to last year, with Indian nationals obtaining the most visas this year.
According to the Home Office, a total of 498,626 sponsored study visas were issued to applicants from June 2022 to 2023, an increase of 108 per cent compared to pre-pandemic.
Data also revealed an interesting trend of study grants increasing, especially in the third quarter, aligning with the start of the academic year. Interestingly, despite the pandemic’s disruption, there has been a significant rebound in visa grants across the first and second quarters in the last two years.
As per nationalities with the most obtained visas, Indians represent almost one-third of all sponsored study grants. The report also reveals a 54 percent increase in sponsored study visas granted to Indian nationals, with 142,848 visas issued in the year ending June 2023. Chinese nationals were listed second, with 107,670 visas granted, while Nigerian nationals witnessed the most significant percentage increase, rising by 73 percent.
The report also highlights changes in immigration rules affecting EEA and Swiss nationals, as a total of 23,912 sponsored study visas were granted to these students, with German, French, and Spanish students leading the list of beneficiaries.
More specifically, German students received the most sponsored study visa grants (4,373 or 18 per cent of the total), followed by French students (4,286, also 18 percent) and Spanish students (3,380, 14 percent). Together, these three nationalities represented half of all EEA and Swiss grants of sponsored study visas for the year.
The graduate route, a pathway for the short-term migration of international students to the United Kingdom, had a total of 98,394 extensions in 2023. This suggests a significant number of students decided to continue their stay in the UK after completing their studies.
The data indicates a considerable rise in dependents of sponsored study visa holders, constituting almost one-quarter (24 percent) of all sponsored study-related visas granted. Nigerian and Indian nationals make up the majority of dependents, reflecting proportional increases in main applicants from these countries.
The report revealed that around 91 percent of Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) were used for higher education institutions by the end of June 2023, reflecting a strong interest in university-level education among international students.
A CAS is considered ‘used’ when an applicant receives a decision on their visa application. The CAS data allows us to present the number of students applying to study in the main educational sectors.
In addition to the surge in sponsored study visas, there were 4,519 short-term study visas issued in the year ending June 2023, a slight decrease from the previous year. The report revealed that non-visa nationals are allowed up to six months of short-term study without requiring a visa.