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UK to hit immigration figures via student dependents ban

UK to hit immigration figures via student dependents ban

The UK is set to reduce immigration numbers by as many as 150,000 people as it sets out to change the rules around foreign students bringing family members to the country during their studies.
Immigration is high on the government’s list of priorities, with Home Secretary Suella Braverman due to announce late this week that annual net migration figures have risen from 500,000 people to 700,000 per annum.

One of the areas identified for the increase is student visas and dependents. Last year, the UK issued 485,758 student visas and 135,788 visas for dependents.

It marks a significant rise from 2021, which saw a little over 370,000 foreign student visas issued, and 2019, during which just over 250,000 were issued — along with just 16,047 dependents.

Students from Nigeria brought by far the largest number of dependents to the UK at 60,923, followed by 139,539 Indian students bringing 38,990 dependents.

Pakistan with 28,061 student and 9,055 dependent visas, Bangladesh with 15,637 students and 7,027 dependents, and Sri Lanka with 5,715 students and 5,441 dependents, completed the list of the top five countries, the Home Office said.

Braverman is expected to announce that in future, all foreign students except those with exemptions — such as for research-led degrees and doctoral courses — will be banned from bringing dependents with them while they study.

The move comes amid fears that the student visa system is being abused by people to gain permanent residence in the UK.

Current rules allow students on a nine-month course or longer to bring dependents, and then stay for two years post completion via the graduate visa scheme, which allows foreign nationals residence in the UK for that period without employment.

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