UK Changes Student Visa Policy: What It Means for Nigerians and Other Foreign Students
The UK government has announced new restrictions on student visa routes that will affect students from Nigeria and other countries who want to study in the UK.
The policy aims to reduce net migration, which was over 500,000 from June 2021 to June 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The main changes are:
- Students will not be able to bring their family members (dependants) on student visas unless they are doing postgraduate research courses. The number of dependants of overseas students has increased by 750% since 2019, to 136,000 people.
- Students will not be able to switch from student visas to work visas until they finish their studies. This will prevent students from using student visas as a backdoor route to work in the UK.
- The government will review the amount of money that students need to show that they can support themselves and their dependants in the UK. This may increase the financial requirements for student visas.
- The government will clamp down on unscrupulous international student agents who may be supporting inappropriate applications.
The new rules will come into effect for students starting in January 2023. The government said it will work with the higher education sector to explore alternative options for the brightest and best students to bring dependants when they study at the UK’s world-leading universities.
The government also reaffirmed its commitment to the International Education Strategy, which supports the economy through the contribution that students can bring to the UK.
However, it said this should not be at the expense of reducing overall migration and ensuring that migration to the UK is highly skilled and beneficial.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “The UK is a top destination for the brightest students to learn at some of the world’s best universities.
” She added that the changes to student visas will have a “tangible impact” on net migration and strike the right balance between supporting the UK economy and upholding the government’s commitment to the public”.