By Emmanuel Adeleke
The United Kingdom (UK) Government has said it will restrict foreign students coming to study in the country from bringing family members with them from 2024.
A statement issued by the Home Office on Tuesday, said the development was necessary to cut net migration and ban people from using the student visa as a backdoor route to work in the UK.
“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 Home Office said.
It further said overseas students would be stopped from switching from the student visa route to work routes until their studies have been completed to avoid misuse of the visa system.
According to the statement, the government will review the required funds students must have to demonstrate they can look after themselves and their dependents.
The Home Office said the government will clamp down on “unscrupulous” international student agents who may be supporting inappropriate applications.
Speaking, the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, said the move was necessary to protect the UK economy.
“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.
“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,” Braverman said.
The ban will affect all masters and some post-graduates students, but it will not apply to PhD students who are highly skilled and whose courses last between 3 and 5 years.
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