Despite the hurdles for students, he revealed that the number of Indian tourists visiting London hit 145,000 in the first half of 2012 – up from 113,000 in the same period last year.
Speaking on a trade visit to India, the Mayor of London said more must be done to tap the “huge spending power” of overseas students and said he had written to the home secretary to request that students are removed from the government’s net immigration target.
“The government is right not to open the door to those who will simply be a drain on the state, but it’s crazy that we should be losing India’s top talent and the global leaders of the future to Australia and the United States,” he said.
The coalition has set an official target of reducing net immigration from its current level of 216,000 a year to less than 100,000.
Last week the Mayor of London told City A.M. it was also “absurd” that the capital was losing Chinese tourists to Paris because of visa restrictions.