In a setback to the Indian citizens in getting an opportunity of obtaining an HPI visa to enter the U.K, none of the Indian universities has been identified in the list of prestigious universities. The UK has been accused of elitism in its post-Brexit scheme meant to attract highly skilled graduates from prestigious universities across the world which has excluded all the Indian universities.
The surprise factor for many was the omission of the world-renowned Indian Institute of Technology in India. None of the IITs made it to the lists of “top 50” international universities whose graduates may apply for the “High Potential Individual (HPI)” visa launched in Britain on Monday.
The HPI visa was introduced as a route that gives an uncapped two-year UK work visa (three years for those with a PhD) for early career stage graduates. The eligibility criteria need graduates to be from an eligible international university in the five years immediately before their application.
An institution must have featured in the top 50 of at least two of the three ranking lists produced annually by QS, Times Higher Education and the Academic Ranking of World Universities for the candidate to obtain this visa.
Though the scheme claim to be open to anyone regardless of nationality. the lists of eligible universities exclude all universities in Africa, Latin America and South Asia.
The recent list consists of universities based mostly in the USA, including Harvard and Yale, with the rest being in China, Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada and Singapore. A student studying in India won’t be eligible for this visa but an Indian student who is awarded a degree (be that a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD) from one of these institutions to be eligible to apply.
Expressing disappointment with the list, Indian National Students Association UK president Amit Tiwari said: “In the present day, India supplies the most foreign students to UK universities, so the fact that they are not part of this programme defies logic. Professors and R&D units value graduates from IIT or IIM. UK authorities need to stop treating Indian students like cash cows.”
“It is great that an Indian graduate from one of these top 50 universities can come and work in the UK, but, on the other hand, how does this impact the attractiveness of UK universities to study,” said Sanam Arora, chairperson of Indian student body NISAU UK. The list is “Western-centric”, she added. “I would welcome an explanation of the methodology behind the choice of institutions to understand what has stopped top Indian universities like IIT and IIM from making the cut. Hopefully, the Indian government will take this up with the UK,” he added.
Ganapati Bhat, a graduate in manufacturing engineering, BMS College of Engineering, Bengaluru University is currently working in London as an enterprise data architect. She expressed her surprise in the U.K ignoring the top education institutions in India. “It is surprising that not a single Indian university or IIT is listed given they are also internationally recognised as elite institutions. Those students studying in IITs will lose out and only those who can go somewhere like Harvard, Stanford or those listed, can benefit from this scheme, meaning the UK loses out on Indian talent too, ” she said.
A home office spokesperson explained the process of putting a list of top universities. “The list of the top 50 global institutes has been identified from three of the world’s most reliable university rankings lists, which are widely cited by the education system and used in immigration systems globally. Graduates from the listed universities are eligible for the HPI route scheme regardless of nationality. Each of the eligible universities attracts students from across the globe to study. There are several other routes eligible for graduates from other universities, including the graduate, skilled worker and global talent route.”