UK to Limit Dependent Visas, MP Says Including Int’l Students in Net Migration Figures is “Mad”

United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News International Studies Statistics by Erudera News May 22, 2023

MP Kit Malthouse

The UK government plans to implement new immigration rules that will ban most international students from bringing their family members to the United Kingdom with them, in an effort to reduce net migration figures. This plan has provoked reactions from the nation’s politicians.

Conservative Member of Parliament, who was Secretary of State for Education between September and October 2022, Kit Malthouse took to Twitter to say that the inclusion of international students in the net migration figures is madness, Erudera.com reports.

In his tweet, MP Malthouse further underlined the importance of international students for the UK and their contributions to the country.

Plans to ban all international students below PhD level from bringing their family to the UK have resulted in a split in opinions, with some individuals taking a supportive stance and others expressing strong opposition.

Some citizens say that they support the decision of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who promised the British people he would lower the net migration figures, because the increase in international students has also increased rent prices. Others say that the main reason why international students come to the UK is to work and that cheap labor holds down wages.

The new rule will not apply to doctoral students from abroad due to the importance of their research to the labor market.

Under a graduate visa, master’s students are allowed to bring their dependents, meaning partners and children, and the latter can stay in the country for up to 24 months until the student completes the course.

Dependents must provide proof of sufficient means to support themselves, as they should rely on something other than the amount of money a student has. According to the government, depending on the location where they will be staying, a student’s partner and child must have the following:

  • For courses in London - £845 a month (for up to nine months)
  • For courses outside London - £680 a month (for up to nine months)

“Your partner or child does not need to prove they have this money if they’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months,” the government states on its website.

The United Kingdom is one of the most popular study-abroad destinations, alongside the US and Canada. During the 2021/22 academic year, the UK became home to 679,970 international students, of whom 120,140 were from the EU and 559,825 were non-EU.

Influx of International Students in the UK Over the Years

China was the UK’s biggest source of international students in 2021/22, with 151,690 students, closely followed by India with 126,535 students. According to Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA), other countries of origin of students in the UK were:

  • Nigeria (44,195)
  • Pakistan (23,075)
  • United States (22,990)
  • Hong Kong (17,630)
  • Bangladesh (12,700)
  • Malaysia (12,135)
  • France (11,870)
  • Italy (11,320)

Data from the Home Office published in February this year revealed that 485,758 sponsored study visas were granted to main applicants during the past year, which is an 81 percent rise compared to 2019. The number of sponsored study visas has also increased by 29 percent within a year, specifically between 2021 and 2022.

HESA shows the number of first-degree students in the UK slightly dropped by two percent between 2020/21 and 2021/22, yet first-degree courses remained a popular option. In 2021/22, 648,925 students enrolled in first-degree courses.

>> International Students Boost UK Economy With £42 Billion: New Research Unveils Remarkable Impact

Image source: Twitter account of MP Kit Malthouse

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