UK Bans Foreign Students From Bringing Family Members With Them From January 2024
The United Kingdom has announced its plan to impose restrictions on foreign students bringing their family members with them starting in January 2024.
The UK Home Office announced the ban in a statement on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, saying the measure is necessary to prevent the misuse of student visas as a means to gain unauthorized employment in the country.
Th government expressed its willingness to collaborate with the higher education sector to explore alternative options, ensuring that exceptional and talented students can still bring their dependents when studying at the UK’s prestigious universities.
The statement reads, “Last year almost half a million student visas were issued while the number of dependants of overseas students has increased by 750% since 2019, to 136,000 people.
“The new reforms will come into effect for students starting in January next year. The government will however work with the higher education sector to explore alternative options to ensure the brightest and best students can continue to bring dependents when they study at the UK’s world-leading universities.”
The UK Home Office said under the new rules, foreign students will be prohibited from switching from the student visa route to a work visa until they have completed their studies.
The UK government also revealed it will review the financial requirements for students to demonstrate their ability to support themselves and their dependents.
It further emphasized that it will crack down on “unscrupulous” international student agents who may be involved in facilitating inappropriate applications.
Suella Braverman, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, justified the decision to restrict foreign students, saying the decision is necessary to safeguard the UK economy.
Braverman acknowledged that the UK is a favored destination for bright students seeking education at top-notch universities, but the unprecedented rise in the number of students entering the country on visas has prompted the need for tighter regulations.
He said the objective is to reduce migration numbers and fulfill the government’s commitment to the British people in cutting net migration.
Braverman emphasized that these measures will protect public services while supporting the economy by allowing the most significant contributors, the students, to continue their presence in the country.
“The UK is a top destination for the brightest students to learn at some of the world’s best universities. But we have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of student dependents being brought into the country with visas,” Braverman said.
“It is time for us to tighten up this route to ensure we can cut migration numbers and meet the government’s pledge to the British people to cut net migration.
“This is the fair thing to do to allow us to better protect our public services, while supporting the economy by allowing the students who contribute the most to keep coming here.”
It was gathered that the ban will affect master’s students and some other post-graduate categories but will exempt highly skilled PhD students who are highly skilled with courses lasting between three to five years.
The crackdown will affect many Nigerian students hoping to pursue their postgraduate studies in the UK, as they accounted for the highest increase in the number of dependants accompanying persons with study visas in 2022.
Nigerian nationals also accounted for the largest increase in sponsored study grants compared with 2019, rising by 57,545 (+686%) to a record high of 65,929, making them the third largest nationality group.
KanyiDaily recalls that “last year, 59,053 Nigerian students brought over 60,923 relatives. We have got to get a grip,” a Tory MP told The Sun on Sunday.