Nigerian Student Dependents in UK Up by 50,500 in 3 Years, British High Commissioner Says

United Kingdom Nigeria Europe Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News May 06, 2024

United Kingdom

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery, said there were 52,000 Nigerian students' dependents in the United Kingdom in 2022, an increase of 50,500 from 2019, when there were only 1,500 dependents.

He made these remarks on Sunday during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), explaining why international students in the UK are no longer permitted to bring their family members to the country.

“In the case of Nigeria, in 2019, before the Coronavirus pandemic, there were only one and a half thousand dependents being brought in from Nigeria, with those on study visas. In 2022, that figure had increased to fifty two thousand dependents so that’s a thirty fold increase in dependence,” he said.

Montgomery said the policy, which came into effect earlier this year, aims to curb immigration, including the number of graduates with dependents in the country, whom he said are putting pressure on many higher education institutions.

Before this change, Montgomery confirmed he held talks with some university leaders, who had even then said that housing, access to medical services, as well as access to school were challenging for international students if they brought dependents.

During the interview, Montgomery also spoke about the exemption of PhD students from this rule, recalling they are still eligible to bring their family members to the UK.

As of January 1, 2024, international students pursuing courses in the UK can only bring dependents while on student visas if they are enrolled in postgraduate research programs or government-sponsored courses. The goal is to reduce immigration by tens of thousands.

According to a report released by the UK government, 68 percent of UK visas were issued to dependents of Nigerian and Indian nationals. The number of Nigerian students’ dependents stood at 60,506 at the end of September last year.

There were 60,506 dependants of Nigerian nationals in the year ending September 2023, an increase of 59,079 compared to 2019 and 9,435 more visas issued than to main applicants in the same period,” the report pointed out.

The same source said that dependents of Nigerian students exceeded the number of Indian students' dependents, which rose from 2,127 to 43,445 between 2019 and 2023.

Overall, data indicate Nigerian nationals were issued a total of 51,071 sponsored study visas in the year ending September 2023. This figure was similar to a year earlier, but it increased eight times more than in 2019.

Read Also:

>> Australia, Canada & UK Tighten Rules on International Students Amid Post-COVID Surge

>> Decline of Int’l Student Enrollment Prompts UK Universities to Cut Staff, Courses

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