LONDON: Coming to the UK for studies is not a ‘rosy picture’ for Indian students and most of them go to the US, visiting Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said.
"There is a perception and I don't think there is a rosy picture to come to the UK. The impression is that it is difficult to get scholarship and they have to pay three times the fee (than applicable for local students). Most go to the USA," she said while replying to questions at an event here.
Noting that she herself studied in London and her husband took a Phd from the London School of Economics, Sitharaman, however, said she does not want her daughter to study in the UK. "Now my daughter wants to come here. Though she is studying English Literature, I don't want her to come here," she said at the event hosted by the High Commission of India and the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) titled 'Strengthening India-UK Business Partnerships'.
Replying to a specific question from Dr Rami Ranger, leading NRI industrialist and exporter, on the difficulties faced in getting "Indian Chefs", Sitharaman said "not only Chefs, but Paramedics, University teachers find it difficult (to come to the UK)."
Nick Boles, Britain's Minister of State for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, said "there is absolutely no limit for Indian students to come and study here." "There were a number of bogus Universities which we have closed down. If the students get a job with certain income level, they can start their career here," he said.
UKIBC Chair Patricia Hewitt said "the Intra-company transfer (Visa) was made easier and that seems to be working very well." Indian High Commissioner to the UK Ranjan Mathai said, "We are not in favour of bogus colleges but we want to ensure that students don't suffer."
The UK government haD indicated last month of new plans to send back foreign graduates, who come here on student visas, to their home countries at the end of their courses, a move that could affect the enrolment from India in British universities. A recent British Council study found that Indians are choosing US universities over the UK colleges due to strict visa norms on post-study work.
Sitharaman said she had a "very constructive engagement with British Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Dr Vince Cable, MP, earlier in the day" and is looking forward to greater engagement with UKIBC.