...By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.
Starting from January 2024, the United Kingdom (UK) has introduced a new law that will limit the ability of Nigeria and other foreign students studying in the UK to bring their family members as dependents, except in specific circumstances.
The move is part of the UK government’s efforts to reduce overall immigration numbers, which currently stand at around one million.
Preventing Misuse of Visa System
According to Sky News, the new rule aims to prevent the misuse of the visa system by international students.
It will remove the option for students to switch from the student route to work routes before completing their studies.
The UK government also plans to review the maintenance requirement for students and their dependents, as well as crack down on unscrupulous education agents who exploit the system for immigration purposes rather than education.
Adapting to the New Law
Fresh students planning to study in the UK are advised to consider and prepare for the implications of the new law, which will come into effect in January 2024.
It is essential for students and their families to understand the changes and make appropriate arrangements.
Rise in Dependants Prompts Policy Change
In a written ministerial statement, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman explained that recent immigration figures revealed an unexpected increase in the number of dependents accompanying international students to the UK.
This prompted the government to take action and implement stricter regulations.
Exemptions for PhD Students
However, it is important to note that the ban on bringing family members as dependents will not apply to PhD students.
Typically, PhD courses last between 3 and 5 years and involve highly skilled individuals. Therefore, these students will still have the option to bring their families to the UK.
Adapting to the Changing Landscape
Nigerian and foreign students pursuing education in the UK must be aware of and prepare for the new immigration policy.
It is crucial to understand the restrictions on bringing family dependents and consider alternative arrangements based on the specific circumstances of each student.