UK Restricts Family Immigration For Non-research Postgrad Students

4 months ago
Sun, 28 May 2023 08:07:46 GMT
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UK Restricts Family Immigration For Non-research Postgrad Students

The United Kingdom (UK) has announced new immigration curbs which prevent foreign postgraduate students on non-research courses to bring their family members.

Prime Minister (PM) Rishi Sunak believes that the move, which will take effect in January 2024, will help bring migration down.

The new immigration curbs are expected to impact migration levels, but the extent is uncertain since students and family members who stay for less than a year are not counted. Last year, 135 788 visas were granted to dependants of foreign students, a significant rise from 54,486 in 2021.

The announcement was made two days before official statistics showed legal migration hit a record 700,000 this year. The move was aimed at reducing migration levels, but the government has not specified an acceptable level.

The Home Secretary believes the change strikes a balance between reducing migration and the economic benefits that foreign students bring to the UK.

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The BBC interviewed two Nigerian students at Wolverhampton University, who expressed their concerns about the new immigration curbs preventing foreign postgraduate students on non-research courses from bringing their family members to the UK.

Rotimi, a mechanical engineering master’s student, believes that most students come to the UK to study and want their families to be part of that experience. Titilope, an undergraduate in mental health nursing, suggests that allowing students to have their families with them would enable them to focus on their studies without worrying about their loved ones’ welfare. 

The University and College Union (UCU) criticized the new immigration curbs as a “vindictive move” that has caused deep concern in the sector. UCU’s general secretary Jo Grady believes that those accompanying foreign students to the UK bring significant value to society and deserve the right to live with their loved ones while studying. Adam Habib, director of SOAS, criticized the decision, citing financial challenges, coherence in government, and human rights concerns.

According to HESA, there were 679 970 international students in the UK in 2021/2022, with universities relying heavily on their fee income. Of these, 307,470 were undergraduates who are already ineligible to bring their families to the UK. The remaining 372,500 postgraduates include 46,350 on research courses, the majority of whom are pursuing PhDs.

Students with visas must provide documentation proving their relationship to dependents, who must pay a £490 fee for a visa and an annual immigration health surcharge of £470 to £624 for NHS services.

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