The number of Indian students enrolling to study at UK universities continued its downward spiral last year, apparently due to scrapping of the post-study work visas, according to new statistics released on January 14.
The number of Indian first-year enrolments at UK varsities fell by 10 per cent - from 11,270 to 10,125 - the figures released by Higher Education Statistics Agency showed.
That meant that the US overtook India on the list of countries that are the biggest sources of UK university first-year enrolments from outside the European Union (EU), edging into second place behind China.
"We could be doing better than this. It is essential that the UK government presents a welcoming climate for genuine international students and academics and ensures that visa and immigration rules are proportionate and communicated appropriately," said Dame Julia Good fellow, Universities UK president and University of Kent vice-chancellor.
In an indication that abolishing of the post-study work visa was one of the key factors behind this decline, she added, "We would also like to see enhanced opportunities for qualified international (non-EU) graduates to stay in the UK for a period to gain professional experience and contribute to the economy.
"These measures will be essential to meet the government's own target of 30 billion pounds education exports."
On January 13, prime minister David Cameron ruled out the reintroduction of the visa which was abolished in 2012. The visa allowed students from countries like India to stay on at the end of their course and work for two years.
"We don't need the brightest and best of students to come here and then do menial jobs. That's not what our immigration system is for," Cameron told the House of Commons.