UK Government Plans to Limit International Student Dependant Visas
Date: May 12, 2023
The UK government is reportedly preparing to limit dependant visas for international students due to an increase in the number of students bringing their family members with them. This move comes ahead of the predicted release of record-high net migration figures, which put pressure on the government to tackle immigration.
According to the Financial Times, the Department for Education, the Home Office, and the Treasury are planning to prevent master’s students on one-year courses from bringing their family members to the UK. The proposed policy might not be a blanket ban, but dependant visas could instead be limited to students at top universities or those studying “high-value” courses. Only courses ministers consider valuable to the economy, such as science, maths, and engineering, will be allowed to bring family members.
The number of students bringing family members with them increased by almost 30% in 2022, with 135,788 student visas issued for dependants. Indian and Nigerian students made up almost 100,000 of these. However, this growth in dependants has exceeded planning assumptions, creating challenges in some areas of the UK, particularly around access to suitable family accommodation.
Universities UK International director, Jamie Arrowsmith, recognizes the situation and is committed to working with the government to find solutions that ensure the UK continues to welcome international students and grows numbers sustainably, protecting both the quality of the student experience and the UK’s global competitiveness.
Limiting dependant visas might make it impossible for many students to study in the UK, according to Lil Bremermann-Richard, CEO of Oxford International Education Group. She emphasizes that the policy could exclude a large pool of people from studying at UK universities to the detriment of the UK and the higher education sector. However, the spokesperson for the Home Office has said that they are committed to reducing net migration over time, while ensuring that the UK has the skills its economy and public services need.
In Conclusion, The UK government’s plan to limit international student dependant visas is expected to impact the country’s reputation as a leading destination for international students. While there are concerns about the impact on access to education, the government’s plan reflects the public’s expectations to control its borders and reduce net migration.
Attribution: Financial Times, Department for Education, Home Office, Treasury, Universities UK International, Oxford International Education Group
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CTA: To learn more about international student dependant visas, check with the Department for Education or Home Office.
Read more: UK Student Life Guide