‘Bri­tish PM’S an­nounce­ment gives me con­fi­dence’

In­dian stu­dents in the UK still need clar­ity on the visa an­nounce­ments, but hope to ‘con­trib­ute’ to the coun­try

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Van­dana Ram­nani

Dur­ing his re­cent visit to In­dia, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron an­nounced that there would be no cap on the num­ber of visas for In­dian stu­dents want­ing to pur­sue stud­ies in the UK. He also said that In­dian stu­dents could stay on in the coun­try in grad­u­ate-level jobs af­ter fin­ish­ing their stud­ies.

Un­der the changes in­tro­duced last year, for­eign stu­dents will only be able to re­main in the UK af­ter grad­u­at­ing if they get a grad­u­atelevel job with a salary of at least £20,000 from an ac­cred­ited em­ployer. Crit­ics have said this has contributed to a fall in the num­ber of In­di­ans and other for­eign stu­dents ap­ply­ing to ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions in the UK.

HT Ed­u­ca­tion spoke to two stu­dents on the verge of com­plet­ing their stud­ies in the UK about the im­pact of the an­nounce­ment. Shanti Shankar, pur­su­ing her PhD in psychology at Ban­gor Univer­sity, was among the last batch of stu­dents who came to the UK on a work­ing visa. “As my re­search comes to an end in 2015, I am won­der­ing how long can I stay on, how much money I will re­quire etc,” she says.

There have also been ru­mours do­ing the rounds that stu­dents will not be al­lowed to stay here for long; the max­i­mum they can stay is three years. “As an In­dian stu­dent in the UK, I had al­ways looked for­ward to con­tribut­ing to UK and also col­lab­o­rat­ing with In­dia as a sci­en­tist. How­ever, hav­ing the visa is­sue at the back of one’s mind was def­i­nitely a de­ter­rent.”

“The prime min­is­ter’s an­nounce­ment gives me some con­fi­dence that when I com­plete my stud­ies, I can at least look for op­por­tu­ni­ties to con­tinue my re­search work and teach­ing here,” she adds.

The an­nounce­ment will help her give her best to sci­ence and aca­demics in the UK. “Be­ing pos­i­tive I will be able to con­tinue my en­deav­our with­out time is­sues. Es­pe­cially when ap­ply­ing for grants in UK and across the world, hav­ing the visa to work in the fu­ture is es­sen­tial as a sci­en­tist/re­searcher,” she says.

Asked if in the present eco­nomic sce­nario she will be able to land her­self a well-paying job in the UK, Shankar says, “If you’re good, def­i­nitely yes. This en­sures you look for jobs with your spe­cial­i­sa­tion and in­ter­est rather than take any job, which will im­pact the lo­cal peo­ple.”

“I be­lieve if I am to con­tinue to be in the UK, I would like to con­tinue in a field of my in­ter­est and spe­cial­i­sa­tion, which will pay me well. Hav­ing said that, if I do not get a job in six months, then I think it is def­i­nitely bet­ter to go back to my coun­try to work there and gain ex­pe­ri­ence. There is no point in stay­ing here and do­ing odd jobs. Also, I would hope if I have suf­fi­cient bal­ance to live here, then I should have a chance to con­tinue be­ing here.”

‘It’s a pos­i­tive step’

V Shanker has a BCom from the Univer­sity of Mum­bai and is a qual­i­fied char­tered ac­coun­tant. He came to the UK on a tier 4 de­pen­dant visa (valid un­til the end of Jan­uary 2012). There­after, he is on a tier 1 (post-study) de­pen­dant visa.

THINKSTOCK

Bri­tish PM David Cameron

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