Nigerian and other international students have been banned from bringing family members to the UK unless they are on PhD courses, in a crackdown announced by country’s Home Secretary, Suella Braverman ahead of expected record immigration statistics.
Under current rules, only students enrolling on full-time, postgraduate courses lasting nine months or longer can bring family members with them to the UK. Those students can bring their partner and any children under the age of 18, and must prove they have at least £680 per month to support each of their dependents.
Ms Braverman said they will also remove the right for foreign students to switch out on to work visas during their studies, amid concerns that some people have been taking advantage of the system. The Government will also crack down on
“unscrupulous education agents” selling “immigration not education” to international students.
The changes are due to take effect in January 2024, with the Home Office set to implement delivery plans in the coming months.
It comes after international students brought 136,000 dependents with them to the UK last year, marking an eightfold increase compared to 2019. Ms Braverman announced the new measures ahead of net immigration figures due to be published on Thursday, May 25.
Home Office figures published last year showed that some foreign students brought up to six family members with them in the year to June 2022, with huge variations by nationality.
Chinese students made up the largest percentage of foreign students who came to the UK in the year to June, but brought the smallest number of dependents with them. In total, 114,837
Chinese students came to study in Britain last year, bringing with them a total of 401 dependents.
By contrast, 34,031 Nigerian students came to the UK last year, seven per cent of the total figure, but brought 31,898 dependents with them. Meanwhile, 93,049 Indian students came to Britain with 24,916 dependents.