Statistics released last week suggest that the number of students coming to Britain to study from other Commonwealth countries has fallen by more than 60 per cent over the past three years.
Academics arriving from countries, such as Pakistan and India, have slumped from an estimated 100,000 to 35,000 according to the latest immigration report published last week.
The official report, issued by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) highlights the steep decline, with many students seeming to opt for studies in the US and Australia rather than in the UK.
UK University bodies and critics of the country's immigration policy have been warning the UK government over toughening visa policies driving overseas students, who pay much higher fees, to alternate locations.
Most recently, a House of Lords committee had accused the government of creating an unwelcoming atmosphere for international students from countries like India.
“It is important to note that both India and China are important markets for UK universities seeking to attract international students they're getting the cold shoulder and heading elsewhere,” the Lords Science and Technology Committee said in a report last month.
“The rules are seen as too complex and subject to endless changes, the visa costs are not competitive, and the rules relating to work after study are so limiting that prospective students are heading to the US, Australia, Canada and elsewhere.”
The official migration figures, released on the day the UK is voting in its European Union elections, also show a rise in the arrival of EU citizens to the UK in the year to December 2013.
The ONS found that 201,000 EU citizens came into the UK as long-term immigrants, seen as a statistically significant increase of 43,000 over the previous year.