**New Delhi ** Stating that there has been a sharp increase in the number of British visas issued to Indians, the British High Commission said on Tuesday that Indians get more work visas than all other nationalities combined.
Citing figures issued by the UK Office for National Statistics, the High Commission said in a statement that the number of visas granted to Indian nationals from September 2016 to September 2017 stood at 517,000.
“Within this number, visit visas increased by 11 per cent to 427,000 and work visas remained steady at 53,000 – meaning that Indians still get more work visas for employment in the UK than all other nationalities combined,” the statement said.
Stating that the largest increase was seen in the Tier 4 student visa category, it said in the last year over 14,000 student visas were issued to Indians, an increase of 27 per cent compared with the previous 12 months.
In addition, over 5,000 Indians came for short-term study in the UK during the same period. This is the third successive quarter that student visa numbers have increased.
“These statistics show that India’s bridge with the United Kingdom is as strong as ever,” British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith said.
“I particularly welcome the sharp increase in Indian students choosing to take advantage of the UK’s world-beating higher education. Our visa service for Indians is as good as any other on offer. Some 90 per cent of applicants receive a visa and 99 per cent of those are processed within our target time of 15 working days.”
Stating that he wanted more Indians to see Britain as their partner country, whether for business, tourism, study or work, Asquith said that visits to India last week by the Mayor of London and the Deputy First Minister of Scotland “showed the depth of interest in working with India”.