Japa: UK to bar Nigerian students from travelling with families

THE United Kingdom (UK) is expected to announce new restrictions that are likely to prevent Nigerian students and students from other nationalities studying in the country from bringing their families over.

According to reports by The Sun UK, the crackdown is set to be announced this week.

“We have got to get a grip,” stated a Tory MP to The Sun on Sunday, emphasising the need to address the situation.

Under the proposed restrictions, all Master’s students and many other postgraduates would be banned from bringing their families.

However, the ban would not apply to PhD students, whose courses typically last between three and five years and are considered highly skilled, as reported by the UK media outlet.

This move comes in response to the alarming reports of net migration into the UK reaching one million, with members of the Tory party urging Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to address the escalating numbers.

The number of people entering Britain under the guise of their relatives’ student visas has seen a significant increase. In the past year, students brought over 135,788 family members to Britain, which is nine times higher than the figure reported in 2019.

Notably, Nigerian students accounted for over 60,000 out of the total, bringing over relatives and the UK has been considering imposing restrictions on Nigerian migrants since October 2022.

The Times UK quoted the UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman, expressing the government’s consideration of tightening rules concerning dependents, after the UK Home Office immigration figures showed discrepancies in the number of dependents accompanying foreign students from different nationalities.

Analysis of the Home Office report indicated that in the 12 months leading up to June 2022, Nigerians accounted for 40 per cent of all dependents accompanying foreign students, despite Nigerian students comprising only seven per cent of all foreign students during that period.

A total of 34,000 Nigerians were granted study visas, with 31,898 dependents accompanying them. Similar ratios were observed for work visas, with 8,972 Nigerians granted visas, bringing with them 8,576 dependents.




     

     

    By comparison, Indian students brought 24,916 dependents out of the 93,049 study visas issued, while Chinese students brought 401 dependents out of the 114,837 study visas issued.

    The Home Office stated, “Nigerian nationals saw the largest relative increase in Sponsored Study grants compared with 2019, increasing by 57,545 (+686 per cent) to a record high of 65,929, making them the third largest nationality group in the latest year.”

    The Home Office attributed the significant rise in visa grants to both the recovery from lower numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase over the pre-pandemic period.

    As the UK prepares to implement stricter regulations on family visas for international students, the move aims to address concerns regarding escalating migration figures and maintain a balanced and sustainable immigration system.

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