A new work visa, set to be introduced by the United Kingdom Government in the summer of 2021 presents new opportunities. There are also new scholarships, research collaborations, and joint projects. David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor, University of Birmingham, spoke about the educational opportunities for Indians hoping to study in the UK.
Q. The UK Government has decided that foreign students will be allowed to stay in the UK for two years after graduating. What kind of impact will this have on the universities and their efforts to attract foreign students?
A. Higher education has never been more important and Indian students will have more time to find permanent skilled work and work temporarily during that period. They will find themselves in an employment environment where they can compete equally with graduates from the EU and countries such as China and the USA. The number of work visas available for skilled immigrants will no longer be capped – good news for Indian students graduating from British universities, particularly in medicine and computer science, where there has been a shortage of visas.
Q. How does Birmingham plan to enhance academic and work opportunities for Indian students?
A. The UK Government’s new Post-Study Work Visa – scheduled for summer 2021 – offers many new opportunities for Indian students. Our Careers Network team encourages and provides work-related experiences such as Business Challenges, mentoring and opportunities to work shadow. Birmingham is a preferred university with employers and has strong partnerships with global employers. The team is compiling a package of pre-entry advice which we plan to make available to applicants from India in late-spring. This comprehensive resource aims to help Indian students coming to Birmingham to make the best possible use of our highly-regarded Careers Network and give themselves a head-start in the employment market.
Q. Could you tell us what Indian students bring to UK universities in terms of money? How much of a university’s finances rely on international students?
A. Colleagues at Universities UK could give a much better answer to this question in purely financial terms, but at the University of Birmingham, we see our international students’ contribution to the life of the university as much more than financial income. We have a long and proud history of engaging with India and welcomed the first students from India to our Edgbaston Campus in 1909 and have provided education for more than 2,000 Indian alumni, including high ranking government officials. There are currently almost 300 Indian students at the university following undergraduate and postgraduate courses – making a valuable contribution to our vibrant and inclusive community of over 35,000 students from the UK and beyond, over 10,000 of whom are international students from more than 150 countries.
Q. Is your university offering any specific scholarships, studentships for Indian students?
A. We offer the University of Birmingham India Outstanding Achievement Scholarships for undergraduate study in Arts and Law, Engineering and Physical Sciences, Life and Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences. These are joint awards with our local representatives: Aspire Overseas Education, TC GLOBAL, Edwise Education, IDP, SI – UK and Krishna Consultants. The scholarship award is for £2,500 towards first-year tuition fees.
Additionally, the University of Birmingham is a popular destination for Chevening Scholars and we are proud to support this UK government global scholarship program, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organizations. These scholarships are open to any overseas students and awarded to outstanding scholars with leadership potential – typically for a one year Master’s degree. There are over 43,000 Chevening alumni around the world who together comprise an influential and highly regarded global network.
Q. How is Birmingham collaborating with Indian universities in terms of academics and research?
A. The University of Birmingham’s collaboration with India continues to grow: for example, research output with India partners has increased by 50 percent over the last five years, and these joint publications are cited almost nine times the world average. We currently have over 40 joint research projects of outstanding quality. These joint projects are making a significant impact on many global challenges that the UK and India face.