Contested numbers on overstayers

Britain has long insisted that too many Indians have been overstaying their visas. It has cited this as a reason for not relaxing visa rules for Indians. In 2016, British Prime Minister Theresa May had said that Britain would consider giving India an improved visa deal “if, at the same time, we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain in the U.K.” India acknowledged the problem and cooperated in the U.K.’s crackdown on “bogus colleges” that enrolled international students but did not have the required standing. However, it has challenged the U.K. on the extent of the issue, and has asked why Britain would allow this one issue to stand in the way of better bilateral ties. How many students are alleged to have overstayed? There are no official figures on Indian overstayers. In 2017, a senior official suggested that Indians represented the largest number (more than 100,000). However, Britain’s process of assessment itself came under question later when figures from exit checks revealed that around 4,700 international students (from across non-EU countries) had overstayed their visas in 2016-2017, as against the previous government estimates of 100,000 annually.

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