LONDON: A record number of 3,200 students from India have been accepted onto UK university and higher education courses through the country’s centralised application system in 2021, marking an increase of 19 per cent over the previous year.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) acceptance figures, released on Tuesday, come days after India was moved off the Red List COVID-19 travel ban on to Amber.
This would have a big impact on Indian students planning to travel to Britain to take up their courses as they no longer need to quarantine in a government-managed facility for 10 days at considerable additional cost.
Instead, they can quarantine for the required 10 days at a chosen destination, which for many will be their university accommodation, or a friend or family home address.
“We know India being moved from the Red to Amber list will be a significant and welcome move for those Indian students due to travel to the UK soon. Those students should stay in touch with their university and be aware of the latest procedure for amber list arrivals to ensure a smooth arrival,” said Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, which represents over 140 universities.
“UK universities are preparing to give a warm welcome to Indian students this autumn. Students have shown a great amount of patience and resilience in sticking with their plans to study overseas and we look forward to welcoming them, and welcoming them back, to our campuses and university communities,” she said.
India was moved off the Red List at 4 am local time on Sunday and under the Amber List rules, all vaccinated travellers must fill in the compulsory passenger locator form to provide an address where they would be undergoing the 10-day self-isolation.
All Amber List arrivals will need to have a negative COVID-19 test before travelling, as well as take a COVID test on Day 2 and Day 8 of their quarantine. In England, there is the option of paying for a test on Day 5, which if negative, will allow students to end their quarantine early.
“We welcome the news that for one of our largest international markets, India has been moved from the UK’s Red to Amber List,” said Kerry Law, Chief Marketing & Engagement Officer at the University of Leicester – which has a large Indian student population.
“The move to the Amber List is great news for our large number of Indian students and means that alongside no longer needing to quarantine they also won’t have any delays to arrival and can engage and adapt to life on campus," she said.
"To ensure we welcome students and give them a great experience as we have extended our welcome by an additional week and have developed online transition support for all new starters,” she added.
The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK had been raising the plight of Indian students facing additional compulsory hotel quarantine costs of 1,750 pounds under the Red List.
It led to Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla setting aside Rs 10 crores to assist Indian students who may face additional costs as Covishield – the India-made Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – does not fall within the UK-approved vaccines ambit for quarantine-free travel to the UK under the Amber List.
“We are absolutely thrilled to see the numbers of Indian students accepted onto courses via UCAS go up by nearly a fifth as part of the overall significant increase in the numbers choosing to come to the UK to study,” said NISAU UK Chairperson Sanam Arora.
“The UK now offers a wonderful proposition for Indian students – world-class education, a great post-study work offer, and through NISAU a home away from home for Indian students, which I can proudly say is a distinct offering for Indians going abroad to study,” she said.
The UK's new post-study or Graduate route visa, which came in force in July, offers students the chance to stay on for two years after completing their degree course to be able to gather work experience.