In a recent announcement, the United Kingdom’s Home Office declared the initiation of its policy, preventing Nigerian students and other international students from bringing dependents through the study visa route.
The Home Office, sharing the update on X (formerly Twitter), underscored that this policy applies to all students except those pursuing postgraduate research or benefiting from government-sponsored scholarships. The exemption for postgraduate research and government-sponsored scholarship students emphasizes the specificity of the new regulation.
“We are fully 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. Postgraduate research or government-funded scholarships students will be exempt,” the Home Office said.
The PUNCH reports that in May 2023, the United Kingdom put in place a law to stop Nigerian students, and others studying in the UK from bringing family as dependents except under specific circumstances.
This is as the UK government aims to bring down immigration into the country which stands at about one million.
Under the new rule, the UK will remove the permission for international students to switch out of the student route and into work routes before their studies have been completed to prevent misuse of the visa system.
Sky News also added that “there will also be a review of the maintenance requirement for students and dependents and a crackdown on ‘unscrupulous’ education agents who make use of inappropriate applications to sell immigration, not education.”
A statement on the UK’s Home Office official site adds that the “New government restrictions to student visa routes will substantially cut net migration by restricting the ability for international students to bring family members on all but post-graduate research routes and banning people from using a student visa as a backdoor route to work in the UK.
“The ONS estimated that net migration was over 500,000 from June 2021 to June 2022. Although partly attributed to the rise in temporary factors, such as the UK’s Ukraine and Hong Kong schemes, last year almost half a million student visas were issued while the number of dependants of overseas students has increased by 750 per cent since 2019, to 136,000 people.”
The Home Office also noted that this new rule was not at the expense of the government’s commitment to the public to lower overall migration and ensure that migration to the UK was highly skilled and provided the most benefit.
According to them, the proposal is aimed at allowing “the government to continue to meet its International Education Strategy commitments while making a tangible contribution to reducing net migration to sustainable levels. The government has also made clear that the terms of the graduate route remain unchanged.”