UK announces new visa curbs for foreign students


UK visa policy

LONDON: United Kingdom’s (UK) Home Office has announced new visa curbs banning foreign students from bringing family members to the country.

In a post on X on Monday, the Home office said it was committed to seeing a ‘decisive’ cut in migration.

“From today, new overseas students will no longer be able to bring family members to the UK,” the post said.

“Postgraduate research or government-funded scholarships students will be exempt.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also endorsed the post, saying that his government was ‘delivering’ for the British people.

The UK visa curbs were originally announced in May by now-ousted Foreign Minister Suella Braverman in response to migration numbers climbing to 745,000 people, a number the Tories said was outrageously high.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said that it was an “unreasonable practice” for foreign students to bring along family members.

“This will see migration falling rapidly by the tens of thousands and contribute to our overall strategy to prevent 300,000 people from coming to the UK,” Cleverly said.

When the measures were originally announced in May, Braverman had wrote that the number of dependants coming to the country with students had gone from 16,000 in 2019 to 136,000 in 2022.

IMPACT ON STUDENTS AND THEIR PROSPECTS

According to statistics published by the Guardian, Nigerian students brought the most dependants to UK, followed by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

India, the second-largest overseas student cohort enrolling at UK universities, is likely to feel the brunt of these changes. With the restriction on switching to work visas until their studies are completed, the career prospects for these students are likely to be affected.

International students, who contribute an estimated 35 billion pounds annually to the UK economy, might be discouraged and choose rival countries for their education. This move could thus potentially redirect the flow of international students, causing a seismic shift in global education dynamics.

The UK has already jacked up salary thresholds to prevent migration of workers to the country, and the limit is expected to move up in coming months.

Read more: UK reports over one-third decrease in migrant crossings of English Channel

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