The United Kingdom is planning to bar foreign students from bringing their spouses and children on academic grounds in the country except on studying “high-value” degrees.
Science, mathematics, and engineering are high-value degrees, according to The Times on Friday, and as a result, international students who are granted visas to study these subjects may move to the UK with their families.
According to the source, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman are debating a new policy due to worries that the number of family members enrolling as overseas students has increased by roughly eight times.
Presently, any foreign student may bring their spouse and parents to the UK if they have a valid student visa.
According to a survey, Nigerians would make up the majority of the dependents traveling with students in 2022. Nigerians also represented the biggest rise in sponsored study grants compared to 2019, jumping by 57,545 (+686%) to a record high of 65,929, placing them as the third largest nationality group in the most recent year.
According to the Times, the most recent immigration statistics showed that in 2022, 490,763 students received visas and were joined by 135,788 dependents (spouses and children), up from 16,047 in 2019.
According to the article, foreign students would not be permitted to bring families unless they are pursuing a higher degree, such as a master’s or doctoral degree.
However, universities and members of parliament from all parties criticised the proposals, pointing to research suggesting that foreign students contribute £35 billion a year to the economy.
The development is the latest in Braverman’s “aspirations” to control migrants from entering the UK.
Vanguard had reported how the home secretary considered reforming the graduate visa route, by proposing that foreign students would have to obtain a work visa by getting a skilled job or leave the UK within six months after the end of their academic programmes.