UK's New Immigration Policy: Its Effect on Nigerian Students
New UK Policy Restricts Foreign Students From Bringing Family: How This Affects Nigerian Students.
- The UK's new policy restricts foreign students, excluding those in postgraduate research programmes, from bringing their dependents from 2024. This change, aimed at reducing net migration, will notably affect Nigerian postgraduate students, who accounted for a significant rise in dependents in 2022.
Updated on by Olusegun Fapohunda
In a sweeping new policy measure, the United Kingdom has decided to restrict foreign students from bringing their family members into the country. This surprising development was announced by the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, as part of a broader initiative to reduce net migration.
Effective from January 2024, all foreign students — excluding those enrolled in postgraduate research programmes — will face a ban preventing their dependents from accompanying them. This is a significant change as, until now, the UK permitted dependents to accompany their spouses or parents who held a valid student visa.
In explaining the decision, Braverman cited an “unexpected” surge in the number of dependents arriving with students. She argued that while acknowledging the economic benefits international students bring to the UK, such gains should not be made at the expense of their commitment to cut immigration.
This policy change is expected to impact a significant number of international students, including those from Nigeria who account for a considerable proportion of UK’s foreign student population. The changes will apply to all master’s degree students and other non-research postgraduates. However, the restriction will not affect PhD students — classified as highly skilled — whose courses typically last between 3 to 5 years.
The new rules, when implemented, could significantly alter the dynamics of pursuing higher education in the UK for Nigerian students. It is particularly set to affect those intending to take up postgraduate studies, as they accounted for the highest increase in the number of dependants accompanying study visa holders in 2022.
This crackdown may compel many prospective Nigerian students to reconsider their plans and explore other educational opportunities around the world. It remains to be seen how the policy will evolve in response to the inevitable feedback from students, academic institutions, and other stakeholders worldwide.
As always, we recommend students and families affected by these changes to seek professional advice before making any major decisions regarding their study abroad plans.