UK bans Nigerian students, others from bringing family members

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The United Kingdom has announced the commencement of the implementation of its dependant visa ban, which prohibits Nigerian students and other foreigners from bringing family members.

The announcement was made via X by the UK’s Home Office on Monday reiterating that only foreign students in postgraduate research or government-sponsored scholarship could bring their dependants through the study visas.

“We are fully committed to seeing a decisive cut in migration. From today, new overseas students will no longer be able to bring family members to the UK. Postgraduate research or government-funded scholarships students will be exempt,” the Home Office said.

The Home Office under Suella Braverman, in May 2023, instituted the policy to stop Nigerian students, and others studying in the UK from bringing family as dependents except under specific circumstances.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery, speaking on the policy, explained that it was formulated to check the influx of immigrants to address the housing problems.

With the new policy, the UK will remove the permission for foreign students to switch out of the student route and into work routes before their studies have been completed to prevent misuse of the visa system.

A report by Sky News said, “There will also be a review of the maintenance requirement for students and dependents and a crackdown on ‘unscrupulous’ education agents who make use of inappropriate applications to sell immigration, not education.”

The Home Office, in a statement on the official site, disclosed that the dependant visa ban policy was to reduce migration.

It read, “Restrictions to student visa routes came into effect yesterday, as the government continues to slash migration and curb abuse of the immigration system.

“International students starting courses this month will no longer be able to bring family members on all but postgraduate research courses and courses with government-funded scholarships. The changes, first announced last May, have also seen people banned from using the student visa as a backdoor route to work in the UK and will see an estimated 140,000 fewer people come to the UK.

“The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that net migration was 672,000 from June 2022 to June 2023. In the year ending September 2023, 152,980 visas were issued to dependants of students, a more than 930% rise from the 14,839 in the year ending September 2019.

“The changes to student dependant rules are part of a wider package of measures to come into force that will drastically bring down the high numbers of migrants coming to the UK to sustainable levels, and crack down on those who take advantage of the flexibility of the UK’s immigration system.”

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