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In a significant policy shift, the UK Home Office has introduced stringent visa requirements for international students enrolling in British universities, according to Wego. The changes, initiated by former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, primarily affect postgraduate research courses and those supported by government-funded scholarships.
Since the start of January, the majority of students coming to the UK can no longer bring dependants.
This will see an estimated 140,000 fewer arrivals. It's just one part our package of measures to cut net migration.
We are delivering on our promise to the British people.
— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) January 6, 2024
The Home Office has emphasized that these measures are designed to prevent the misuse of student visas as a route to employment. It is projected that these changes will result in approximately 140,000 fewer arrivals in the UK. The revised regulations specifically address the growing trend of overseas students bringing dependents. Official data reveals a remarkable 930% increase in dependent visas since 2019.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s administration is striving to balance these visa changes. While preserving the attractiveness of the UK’s higher education sector, the government aims to deter institutions from prioritizing immigration over education. Collaborative efforts with universities are underway to develop an alternative approach for exceptional students to bring their dependents.
In addition to student visa holders, the same initiative is also being implemented for overseas health and social care workers. For more details, please refer to our dedicated news article below.