In a significant move aimed at reducing migration and addressing housing concerns, the United Kingdom’s Home Office has officially implemented its dependents visa ban, restricting Nigerian students and other foreigners from bringing family members to the UK.
The policy, announced by the UK government, underscores the commitment to a decisive cut in migration.
The Home Office clarified that as of Monday, new overseas students, with exceptions for postgraduate research or government-sponsored scholarship students, will no longer have the option to bring family members to the UK through study visas.
The initial policy was introduced in May 2023 under the leadership of Suella Braverman, then heading the Home Office, as a measure to control the influx of immigrants and address housing challenges. Dr. Richard Montgomery, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, explained that the policy was formulated to ensure a focused approach to migration.
One key aspect of the new policy is the removal of permission for foreign students to switch out of the student route and into work routes before completing their studies, aimed at preventing misuse of the visa system.
A report by Sky News highlighted additional measures, including a review of maintenance requirements for students and dependents, as well as a crackdown on ‘unscrupulous’ education agents who exploit inappropriate applications for immigration purposes rather than genuine education pursuits.
The Home Office, in an official statement, emphasized that the dependents visa ban policy is part of a broader package of measures designed to bring down migration to sustainable levels and counter abuses of the UK’s immigration system. The changes are estimated to result in approximately 140,000 fewer people coming to the UK.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) provided context, estimating net migration at 672,000 from June 2022 to June 2023. The data also revealed a significant rise in visas issued to dependants of students, reaching 152,980 in the year ending September 2023, a substantial increase from 14,839 in the year ending September 2019.
The UK government sees these changes as essential in ensuring a more controlled and sustainable approach to immigration, signaling a broader shift in its immigration policies.