UK to Restrict Dependent Visas for Foreign Students as Immigration Increases

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By Education Today

Posted on May 18, 2023


2 min read

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According to the Financial Times, the Department for Education, the Home Office, and the Treasury are intending to stop master’s students taking one-year courses from bringing family members to the UK with them. When UK net migration data are announced later in May, it’s expected to reach a record high, increasing pressure on the government to act to stop immigration. 

135,788 student visas, or over 30% more than in 2021, were issued to students who were bringing family members along. Nearly 100,000 of these were given to relatives of students from Nigeria and India. Universities UK International’s Jamie Arrowsmith stated that the organization acknowledged that the increase in dependents “may have exceeded planning assumption and that this has created some concerns for government, and indeed challenges in some areas of the UK, for example, around access to suitable family accommodation.”

In order to ensure that the UK continues to welcome international students and that we are able to grow our enrollment in a sustainable way that safeguards both the quality of the student experience and the UK’s global competitiveness, he said, “We are committed to working with government to understand these issues and to find solutions.” Limiting dependent visas, according to Lil Bremermann-Richard, CEO of Oxford International Education Group, will make it “impossible” for many students to study in the UK. Only students enrolling in programs officials deem to be of great value to the economy, such as science, math, and engineering, will be permitted to bring family members, according to a March article in The Times. There have also been speculations that the selection of students who are permitted to bring dependents may be based on institution rankings.