British newspaper The Times reported that international students could be banned from bringing their wives and children to the UK unless they study “high value” degrees as the government continues to debate policy changes.
According to the newspaper, students will only be allowed to marry family members if they are studying subjects that ministers consider to be of high value to the economy, such as science, mathematics and engineering.
Currently, students studying at postgraduate level can bring family members regardless of which course they are enrolled in.
A Home Office spokesman declined to confirm the reports, telling The PIE that all immigration policies are “under constant review to ensure they best serve the country and reflect public priorities.
“Our points system is designed to be flexible to the needs of the UK – including attracting top talent from around the world, to contribute to the UK’s outstanding academic reputation and help our universities remain competitive on the world stage,” the spokesman said. .
Last year, 22% (135,788) of all study-related visas were granted to dependent students, compared to 6% (16,047) in 2019. he wrote this may “reflect a change in the composition of students” coming to the UK, such as a greater number of older students.
Nigerian students had the highest number of dependents in 2022, increasing to 60,923 from 1,586 in 2019, while Indian nationals had the second highest at 38,990. In 2022, almost 120,000 dependent visas were granted to the top 5 nationalities (Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka).
Jeff Williams, CEO and co-founder of student onboarding platform Enroly, previously he told The PIE that this increase was to be expected given the growing popularity of postgraduate courses.
While the international education sector has previously said against limiting dependent visas, some have expressed concern around supporting students with family members when it comes to finding housing and school.
The UK government is expected to make a formal announcement of updates to the international student policy.