In 2022, approximately 30% more students brought family members to the UK, prompting the UK government to propose reducing dependant visas.
While the government debates policy reforms, The Times reported that international students may be prevented from bringing their spouses and children to the UK unless they study “high-value” degrees.
According to the publication, students can only bring family members if they study science, math, or engineering, which ministers consider valuable to the economy. All postgraduate students can bring family members.
“All immigration rules are under constant review to ensure they best serve the country and reflect the public’s values,” a Home Office official told The PIE.
“Our points-based system is designed to be adaptable according to the UK’s demands – including attracting top class talent from across the world to contribute to the UK’s strong academic reputation and to help maintain our universities competitive on the world stage,” the spokesperson added.
Dependants of students received 22% (135,788) of study-related visas last year, up from 6% (16,047) in 2019. The Home Office stated in its statistics release that this may “reflect a change in the composition of students” coming to the UK, such as more elderly students.
In 2022, Nigerian students had 60,923 dependants, up from 1,586 in 2019. Indian students had 38,990. In 2022, the top 5 nationalities—Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka—received about 120,000 dependant visas.
Given the popularity of postgraduate courses, Jeff Williams, CEO and co-founder of student onboarding platform Enroly, told The PIE that this growth was expected.
While the international education sector has opposed dependant visa limits, others have raised concerns about helping students with family members locate accommodation and schools. UK government foreign student policy revisions are likely soon. Opposition MPs also oppose international student policy changes.
This report is an excerpt from the Pie News.
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Categories: Home, UK Immigration
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