There is good news for the aspirational student community as the UK, a traditional base of liberal education in the arts and sciences, has opened a new graduate immigration route that will allow them the opportunity to stay longer in the UK after they have finished their studies when they can aim to kickstart their careers and, to begin with, stay on for at least two years.
The UK is the second biggest destination for students after the US and as many as 56,000 Indians took student visas even during the pandemic in 2020. The US, too, has started its student admission process for the university semester that begins in the autumn and young Indians are preparing to sally forth in furthering their education, which they cannot pursue in India itself for various reasons.
The UK’s recognition of talented international students to join their workforce is also a sign that the seemingly insular character of their “Brexit” from the EU will not obtrude to disrupt a points-based immigration system. There was a fear that xenophobia may have been one of the drivers of the “Leave” vote but it's clear now from British Home Secretary Priti Patel’s comments on the prospective immigration of students through the jobs route that the UK is as open as it used to be before the 2016 referendum led to the landmark separation from Europe.
Regardless of Scottish aspirations for independence and an ambition to get back into the EU, the UK is committed to a roadmap of a decade of improving India ties and even seeks a trade deal. It is another matter that India is unable to offer every aspirational student an opportunity to excel because of various constraints, not least of all being the quality of higher university education outside the elite institutions of professional studies and their basic degrees. In terms of numbers, students leaving India is not so alarming as to raise the old fears of a brain drain.