The Home Office of the United Kingdom has announced its commencement of a new policy banning foreign students from bringing in dependants through study visas.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), the Home Office reiterated that only those on postgraduate research or government-sponsored scholarship students will be permitted to bring in spouses, children or other dependants.
“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 operative law was enacted in May 2023.
Under the new rule, the UK will remove the permission for international students to switch out of the student route and into work route before their studies have been completed to prevent misuse of the visa system.
A statement on the UK’s Home Office official site adds: “New government restrictions to student visa routes will substantially cut net migration by restricting the ability for international students to bring family members on all but post-graduate research routes and banning people from using a student visa as a backdoor route to work in the UK.
“The ONS estimated that net migration was over 500,000 from June 2021 to June 2022. Although partly attributed to the rise in temporary factors, such as the UK’s Ukraine and Hong Kong schemes, last year almost half a million student visas were issued while the number of dependants of overseas students has increased by 750 per cent since 2019, to 136,000 people.”
The Home Office also noted that this new rule was not at the expense of the government’s commitment to the public to lower overall migration and ensure that migration to the UK was highly skilled and provided the most benefit.