Sinha acknowledged the “exponential” decline in the number of Indian students in the UK in the past five-to-six years. “Some of that is down due to fake colleges, but far fewer are applying,” he said, adding that compared to 40,000 in 2010, the number was just 16,000 in 2015. In contrast in Australia the number of Indian students has risen from 19,000 in 2010 to 40,000 in 2016, whilst the US has seen a spike from 104,000 to 166,000.
“90% of those applying (for jobs) are given places. The reasons for lower applications are many, but if I was an employer, I would think twice about employing someone who only has the right to work in the UK for four months,” Sinha said.
On Brexit’s impact on India-UK trade relations, he said, “No formal negotiation can start on any FTA until the UK leaves the EU. But there is a joint working group on trade and services set up as the EU and UK negotiate and we get clarity on what will happen post 29 March, 2019.”