UK Implements Stringent Measures on Overseas Students Bringing Families
The United Kingdom has implemented new immigration restrictions that affect international students and their ability to bring family members to the country. Home Secretary Suella Braverman introduced the measures to reduce immigration numbers. While the government argues that these changes are necessary to control migration, concerns have been raised regarding their potential impact on students, families, and the higher education sector as a whole.
Under the new proposals, only students enrolled in research programs, such as PhD students or research-led master's courses, will be allowed to bring their dependents to the UK. This means that the majority of international students will no longer have the option to bring their families except under specific circumstances. The government also aims to eliminate the ability of international students to switch from the student route to work routes before completing their studies.
The government points to the rising number of dependents accompanying international students as a cause for concern, leading to the decision to curtail family migration. The written ministerial statement cites a significant increase in visas granted to dependents of sponsored students, reaching 136,000 in the year ending December 2022, compared to 16,000 in 2019.
“The UK is a top destination for the brightest students to learn at some of the world’s best universities. But we have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of student dependents being brought into the country with visas”, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said.
Despite the restrictions, the UK government confirmed that the Graduate route visa, allowing students to stay for up to three years to gain work experience after completing their degrees, will remain open and competitive. Indian students, who now outnumber Chinese students in terms of study visas granted, are the largest group to benefit from this visa category.
“Attracting the top students from around the world isn’t just good for our universities - it’s essential for our economy and building vital global relationships”, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said.
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In a recent press conference, Marc Miller, the Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, outlined key