India is still fighting to reverse immigration curbs blamed for a sharp drop in the number of its young people coming to the UK to study, its High Commissioner said.

Ranjan Mathai said tighter visa restrictions on students' right to work after finishing their courses were one of the reasons people were going elsewhere.

The issue dominated Prime Minister David Cameron's last visit to India, where he told critics there was "no limit" on the numbers able to come to Britain to study.

Forcing those wishing to stay in the UK to work to seek a full work visa was a necessary step to prevent bogus students, he insisted.

Mr Mathai told The House magazine: "Many of the students who I've had an interaction with feel that if they'd had a chance to pay their way by staying on for a year - which the system before allowed - then it would make their taking loans and coming to the UK for education more worthwhile, more possible.

"That's one reason the numbers have gone down.

"We do have a dialogue in which we have raised issues like this, and we'll continue to raise them. We continue to raise it, the issue of the possibilities for Indian students to acquire some work experience and to sustain the costs of going abroad, through appropriate measures."

Improvements in Indian universities explained some of the drop in young people seeking education abroad, he said.

"That said, they still do seek opportunities outside, and they seek them wherever they can find them; the most suitable, the most advantageous and the most economical.

"The English speaking world tends to be the dominant focus because most of our students are English speaking anyway. But there are also Indian students in other countries like Russia and China and various other countries.

"Students look for opportunities which are open to them, and which are manageable in terms of their finances, and where they feel most welcome. And they will continue to look for such opportunities."

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman said: "International students make a huge contribution - boosting our economy and enhancing our cultural life.

"That is why there is no cap on the number of legitimate students who can study here. By working with other countries we will continue to attract international students and promote the UK's expertise in education."