New Enroly data shows that CAS and visa issuance rates for international students arriving in the UK remain well ahead of where they were in August 2021, with no signs of slowing.
The real-time data, from thousands of self-reported visa outcomes from students using the Enroly platform, also sheds light on current CAS-to-visa turnaround times in key markets.
The picture in July and August
As of Monday 22 August, visa issuance was up 110.48% year-on-year.
Although a strong indication of overall growth in international student numbers, the comparative increase has reduced as a percentage when compared to July, when we reported a 370% year-on-year increase at that stage in the cycle.
The data underlines the efforts that have been made to process students earlier in response to higher volumes, but processing rates continue to remain high.
What are the current CAS and visa issuance rates?
CAS and visa issuance rates for the coming intake show no signs of letting up, and are actually increasing: 44.8% of all CASs so far have been issued in the first three weeks of August alone.
The graph below presents the current rate of increase from a large sample of 30,000+ students applying to UK universities, with an upward trend line throughout July and August.
The data also shows how the gap between CAS and visa issuance continues to widen, pointing to possible build-ups in UKVI backlogs.
What’s the current CAS-issued to visa-issued turnaround time?
The average amount of time between CAS and visa issuance has varied depending on when students’ CASs were issued. Slow turnaround times for students receiving visas in June, which for several weeks exceeded 40 calendar days from ‘CAS issued’ to ‘visa issued’, did significantly reduce later in July.
But as the chart below shows, longer waits have returned in August, with students who reported receiving their visas last week recording that this had taken 37.5 calendar days on average since their CAS was issued.
It’s worth highlighting that the UKVI reports waiting times as the time elapsed between the date of biometrics until the visa decision. This Enroly data uses a different metric: the time elapsed between CAS issuance and the student reporting the actual receipt of their visa. This offers a different picture to universities, and is intended to give more of a practical insight for CAS teams when planning their CAS issuance cut-off times for the intake.
The data highlights national variations in CAS-to-visa issuance times: another statistic which may be useful for arrival planning. The table below indicates how long students who received their visa last week reported waiting, in calendar days, broken down by country.
The disparities between markets could have a significant impact on arrival. Pakistani and Indian students reported waiting 36.7 and 37 calendar days respectively from CAS to visa issuance last week, whereas Nigerian and Bangladeshi students reported waits of 47 and 47.2 days.
We’ll continue to track CAS and visa issuance rates over the coming weeks. Anecdotally, the Enroly team is hearing about cases of UK universities having already hit the CAS issuance limit, which may also have a bearing on figures during the rest of August.
Stay tuned for an update on reported arrival times in early September, offering insights about students travel plans for arriving to the UK to begin their courses.
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