Almost 154,000 of all sponsored study related visas were granted to students’ dependants, the statistics from the Home Office, released today, also show.
From January 2024, masters students on taught courses in the UK will no longer be permitted to bring dependants with them.
Undergraduates had not previously been allowed to bring family members with them. Students on postgraduate research courses will continue to be permitted to bring dependants after 2024.
The 498,626 sponsored study visas granted to students in the year ending June 2023 is a 108% increase on the pre-Covid figures, in the year ending June 2019.
Sector stakeholders will be anticipating what the figures in Q3 of 2023 show when they are released later this year on November 23. Q3 is traditionally when most prospective students apply for visas needed to enrol in universities in the UK.
Non-EEA students are behind the rise in study visas granted, rising by 24% in the past year. EU students “remained stable” according to the Home Office analysis, falling slightly by 1%.
A total of 142,848 sponsored study visas were granted to Indians, an increase of 49,883 (+54%) compared to the year ending June 2022. The Home Office noted that grants to Indians is now around seven times higher than the year ending June 2019.
Visas for Chinese students have dropped by 6% from June 2022, with 107,670 visas granted in the year to June 2023. Together, Chinese and Indian nationals accounted for half of all sponsored study visas.
Nigeria, Pakistan and the US made up the top five nationalities granted sponsored study visas. Visa grants to Nigerians is up 73% in the past year to June, reaching a total of 58,680.
Among the sponsored visa grants to students from the EEA, Germany accounted for 18%, with 4,373 granted, followed by France with 4,286 (also 18%) and Spain with 3,380 (14%).
The statistics also reveal that a total of 98,394 Graduate route extensions were granted in the year to June, with Indians accounting for over two-fifths (42%). Previous analysis showed that 20% of students whose leave expired in 2022 switched to the Graduate route following their studies.