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In an effort to reduce immigration numbers, the government has implemented new regulations that restrict international students from bringing their families to the UK, except in specific situations. It means that most international students will no longer have the option of having their families accompany them during their studies in the UK.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has introduced new rules, supported by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, to address the migration issue. As per these rules, only students enrolled in postgraduate research programs, including PhD students, will be allowed to bring their dependents to the UK. This move aims to limit the number of dependents accompanying international students in the country.
According to a written statement by Braverman, the International Education Strategy is crucial for the UK economy, but it should not compromise the commitment to reduce overall migration and prioritize highly skilled migration. Braverman stated that the policy strikes a balance between addressing net migration and safeguarding the economic advantages associated with international students.
The regulations were established before the release of the upcoming net migration statistics on Thursday. These figures are anticipated to indicate a substantial rise in migration, despite the government’s efforts to decrease it. In the year ending December 2022, approximately 136,000 visas were issued to the dependents of sponsored students, demonstrating a significant increase from the 16,000 visas granted in 2019.
Besides this, international students will now face restrictions when switching from a study visa to a work visa before finishing their course. According to the government, this change in immigration policies will prevent the misuse of the visa system. However, the graduate route, permitting international students to remain and work in the UK after graduation, remains unaffected.
According to Lil Bremermann-Richard, the CEO of Oxford International Education Group, the restriction on dependent visas will pose significant challenges for numerous students wishing to Study in UK. She argues that if the goal is to attract diverse talent, the financial burdens of finding alternative care arrangements or frequent travel should be considered.
In summary, the recent UK immigration rule changes regarding dependent visas for international students have raised concerns in the education sector. While the government aims to address migration issues, critics argue it may hinder access to education. It remains to be seen how these policy changes will impact the educational landscape and the diversity of talent attracted to the UK.