UK Student Visa Update: International Students Lose Right To Bring Family Members In The UK
The United Kingdom is currently experiencing a surge in immigration, prompting the government to adopt stricter measures in shaping the profile of incoming migrants and reducing the overall net migration figures.
Net migration refers to the difference between the individuals who relocate to the United Kingdom with the intention of residing for a duration of at least 12 months within a specific time period and the individuals who leave during that same period.
On May 23, the UK government announced that international students on courses below Ph.D. will not be allowed to bring dependants to the United Kingdom starting January 2024.
Dependants are defined as partners and any children under 18.
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Student Dependants Crackdown
UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman has announced a crackdown on overseas students bringing family members to the UK as part of a push to reduce net migration.
“The significant rise in students bringing family members is putting untenable pressure on public services. Tightening the student route will help to cut migration by restricting post-graduate students from bringing dependents or using the route as a backdoor to work.”Suella Braverman
Data from the Home Office reveal that almost a million student visas were granted in 2022, while the number of dependants of international students was up by 750 percent since 2019, accounting for 136,000 more people.
From January next year, UK Student Visa holders not on postgraduate research programmes will not be allowed to bring their dependants, regardless if they are children under 18, family members, spouses, civil partners, or elderly parents.
Economic Impact Of New Restrictions
The new immigration curb is expected to impact the towns and cities which benefit from the millions of pounds brought in by international students and their families.
British universities could also be hit financially if international students are deterred from studying in the UK due to the new immigration policy.
Foreign students play a massive role in financing the country’s higher education system while being a net contributor to the economy.
Their tuition fees cross-subsidised research and teaching, especially in subject areas such as technology, science, and arts where the cost of courses exceeds the £9,250 paid annually by domestic students.
A recent study indicates that International students studying in Glasgow, London, Sheffield, Nottingham, and Newcastle are among those to deliver the greatest financial boost regardless of the cost to public services, which has been estimated at £4.4bn. The study shows that international students provide a total net benefit of £37.4bn.
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