On Monday, the United Kingdom’s Home Office officially initiated the enforcement of its policy prohibiting Nigerian students and other international students from bringing dependents through the study visa route.
The Home Office in a statement posted on its verified X account, emphasized that only individuals pursuing postgraduate research or benefiting from government-sponsored scholarships will be exempted from this policy change.
“We are fully committed to seeing a decisive cut in migration. From today, new overseas students will no longer be able to bring family members to the UK. Postgraduate research or government-funded scholarships students will be exempt,” the Home Office said.
The UK’s new regulation entails the removal of the provision allowing international students to transition from the student route to work routes before completing their studies, aiming to prevent any potential misuse of the visa system.
According to the Sky News, “there will also be a review of the maintenance requirement for students and dependents and a crackdown on ‘unscrupulous’ education agents who make use of inappropriate applications to sell immigration, not education.”
Also, in a statement on the official website of the UK’s Home Office, the new government restrictions on student visa routes aim to significantly reduce net migration. This will be achieved by limiting the eligibility for international students to bring family members, allowing it only on postgraduate research routes, and prohibiting the use of a student visa as a means to work in the UK through a backdoor route.
“The ONS estimated that net migration was over 500,000 from June 2021 to June 2022. Although partly attributed to the rise in temporary factors, such as the UK’s Ukraine and Hong Kong schemes, last year almost half a million student visas were issued while the number of dependants of overseas students has increased by 750 per cent since 2019, to 136,000 people.”
The Home Office further stated that this new rule was not at the expense of the government’s commitment to the public to lower overall migration and ensure that migration to the UK was highly skilled and provided the most benefit.
According to them, the proposal is aimed at allowing “the government to continue to meet its International Education Strategy commitments while making a tangible contribution to reducing net migration to sustainable levels. The government has also made clear that the terms of the graduate route remain unchanged.”
Recall that in May 2023, the United Kingdom put in place a law to stop Nigerian students, and others studying in the UK from bringing family as dependents except under specific circumstances.
This is as the UK government aims to bring down immigration into the country which stands at about one million.