The British government on Tuesday imposed visa restrictions affecting foreign students and their families, while the Conservative government led by Rishi Sunak seeks to curb rising immigration, especially after the Withdrawal Agreement from the European Union (Brexit).
The United Kingdom has recorded record immigration rates of half a million people between June 2021 and June 2022, and new figures are expected to be released on Thursday, continuing the upward trend. Net migration could reach 700,000, the paper says.Financial Times.”
The government will also review funds that students need to prove they can take care of themselves and their dependents in the UK, as well as clamp down on unscrupulous international student agencies that support inappropriate applications. https://t.co/5mgBuy9OOJ
— Olumuyiwa Igbalajobi, Ph.D (@olumuyiwaayo) May 23, 2023
While British universities attract thousands of foreign students each year, visa restrictions will lead to a “significant reduction” in the number of migrants, “by reducing the likelihood that foreign students will bring family members with them”. According to a government report.
AndUnder procedures The practice, which will begin in January 2024 after consultation with the Department of Higher Education and universities, means that only top postgraduate students involved in research projects – usually lasting more than two years – can bring their family members.
From 2024, international students will no longer be able to bring family members to the UK.
On Tuesday, the Home Office said the change was necessary to reduce net migration and prevent people using student visas through the back door to work in the UK. pic.twitter.com/S9OxzJ9Woe
— Citizen of Zikoko (@ZikokoCitizen) May 24, 2023
Students will be prevented from obtaining a work visa instead of a student visa before they complete their studies. The government has vowed to crack down on “unscrupulous agents” who use student visas as a means of immigration.
According to official figures, authorities have issued around 136,000 student visas in 2022, up from 16,000 in 2019, a 750% increase in the number of foreign student dependents.
An unprecedented increase
“We have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of dependents of students coming to the country on visas,” Home Minister Soyala Pravarman told parliament.
He said the new measures would provide a “fair balance” and allow immigration rates for Britain to return to pre-pandemic levels in the “medium term”.
“The plans announced today do not detract from the success of the Government’s international education strategy, including achieving the target of 600,000 international students studying in the UK every year by 2030, for two consecutive years.”
For her part, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said, “Attracting the best students from around the world is not only good for our universities, but essential for our economy and for building vital global relationships.”
“However, the number of family members that students bring to the UK has increased significantly and it is right to take steps to reduce this number while remaining true to our international education strategy.”
Anxiety in universities
The moves have raised concerns among prestigious universities, which fear losing important revenue as foreign students often pay higher tuition fees to join them.
Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group, which represents academic institutions such as Cambridge and Oxford, said government measures could undermine efforts to “diversify” international students.
Read our response to today’s Home Office announcement on changes to the student visa pathway ⬇️https://t.co/N2WziYUpfv pic.twitter.com/ANfcWekOUT
— The Russell Group (@RussellGroup) May 23, 2023
Jo Grady, general secretary of the Association of Universities and Colleges, said: “Those who wish to study in Britain bring an important value to our society and deserve to live with their relatives while they study.” “Instead, they are treated with contempt,” he added.
The students have our backs and we should have theirs. This latest attack on international students shows that the government will continue to stoop lower and lower.
It is our duty to speak out against this injustice. https://t.co/g57NzDNrS8
— Joe Grady (@DrJoGrady) May 23, 2023
Immigration was a central focus of the campaign that led Britain to vote in favor of leaving the EU in 2016, but the Conservatives who came to power failed to reduce the level of regular and irregular immigration.
While the government is trying to reduce the number of migrants, the country has faced a post-Brexit labor shortage, particularly in the agriculture and health sectors. Sunak finally conceded the need to issue tens of thousands of seasonal visas to cover the shortfall in agriculture, contradicting the Home Secretary.
The home secretary told a conference of the ultra-conservatives that she saw no reason why “England cannot arm itself with more lorry drivers and fruit pickers to reduce immigration”.
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