News Topical Blog - Surging International Enrolments reflected in 2022-23 UK Visa Numbers

Latest Home Office figures show a significant increase in international demand for UK higher education for the 12-month period ending September 2022. A total of 476,389 study visas have been issued in this period. It is a jump of 77% from the same period in 2019 and 24% in 2018. These are important figures as they compare current visa volumes to pre-pandemic numbers.

Despite the positive trend, a government statement released with the data advises that such comparisons be made responsibly. According to them, these figures do not account for changes in travel patterns following the pandemic which may have led to more students applying for visas by September 2022. It cannot be stated with certainty if this is a long-term trend or a short-term spike. The spike could be the cause of deferrals during the pandemic.

With UK’s departure from European Union, students from EEA also require study visa and roughly 96% of all study visas granted were for non-EEA students. Of these, Chinese and Indian students made up just 51% of all visas, while other countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh have seen continuing growth. Nigeria, however, accounted for the highest increase in visa numbers with a whopping 650% growth between 2019 and 2022. This period also marks the first time India’s study visas have surpassed China’s.


As before, any spike in international student numbers reignites the debate regarding international enrolments, net migration and limits governing the same. As international students contribute hugely to the economy, cutting back on these numbers is thought to be counterintuitive to the government’s policies regarding rebuilding of the economy. In UK, almost 70% of education export earnings come from international students and they contribute a net positive of £26 billion per year.

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