There has been an increase of 45 per cent in the number of visas issued for Indian students going to the U.K. in 2009 over the previous year. The number of the visa applications from south India is steady and there is nothing surprising when compared to the numbers seen in north India, said L. Dhanasekaran, Head of Education U.K. (South India), British Council division.

The UK Border Agency has temporarily suspended issue of visas to students from north India recently after a phenomenal increase in the number of the applications over the last two months. According to officials and representatives of various U.K. universities, the visa application process is being currently reviewed to ensure that the details furnished are genuine. The attacks on Indian students in Australia are probably another reason for the sharp increase in the visa applications.

Representatives from about 58 universities and colleges across U.K. are participating in the two-day Education U.K. Exhibition that opened at Hotel Taj Coromandel here on Thursday. It is being organised by the British Council.

“We are looking to grow but are particular that it has to be a sustainable growth,” said Oliver Fortescue, Senior International Officer, University of Westminster and spokesperson for the participating universities.

He said that the popularity of courses in bio-science, which had seen a dip in the last two years, is on the rise again. There was a lot less request for scholarships though there are many institutions offering them. “Indian students off late are more particular about the course details, the modules provided and whether access to research facilities is offered,” he added.

Many students who visited the exhibition voiced concern at the attacks on Indian students in Australia and indicated that they would rather seek jobs after their degree here if they do not get admission for higher studies in the U.K.

MBA in pharmaceutical and life science, biotechnology and Masters Programme in Architecture were some of the emerging programmes for which they received many enquiries, many of the representatives said. A seminar on visa procedure and latest career trends seen in the U.K. was held.

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