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Indians enhance Britain’s skilled worker, graduate landscape

Indians enhance Britain’s skilled worker, graduate landscape
Courtesy: Spotmatik | iStock Via Getty Images

The official migration statistics released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and analysed by the UK Home Office this week yet again highlighted the significant contribution of skilled Indians to the British society and economy.

While ‘Skilled Worker’ visas have only seen a modest rise in the past year (+9 per cent), ‘Skilled Worker – Health and Care’ visa grants more than doubled (+135 per cent) to 143,990. Indian (38,866), Nigerian (26,715), and Zimbabwean (21,130) nationals saw the largest increases on this visa compared with the previous year, the data reveals.

The Skilled Worker route saw a small decline of 11 per cent to drop from 20,360 visas for Indian nationals in the year ending September 2022 to 18,107 by this September. There were 133,237 sponsored study visa grants to Indian nationals in year ending September 2023, a small increase of 5,804 (+5 per cent) compared to the year ending September 2022. Indian nationals also represent the largest group of students granted leave to remain after their degree to gain work experience on the Graduate visa route, representing 43 per cent of grants. However, since a crackdown announced earlier this year on overseas students bringing in dependants, the latest figures show that Indian nationals do not make up the largest number under this category. Indians also make up one of the top nationalities for voluntary returns after primarily Albanians.

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The Conservative Party government is under pressure to bring down overall migration numbers and the latest ONS data does indicate a small drop in figures. The figures for the 12 months until June 2023 show net migration to the UK of 672,000, lower than 745,000 for the same period last year.

Jay Lindop of the ONS Centre for International Migration said: “The latest numbers are higher than 12 months ago but are down slightly on our updated figures for year ending December 2022. It is too early to say if this is the start of a new downward trend.”

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The top nationalities outside the European Union (EU) for immigration flows into the UK were found to be Indian (253,000), Nigerian (141,000) and Chinese (89,000).

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