International students will now be unable to bring their dependants with them, unless they are enrolled in postgraduate courses currently categorised as research programs.
The government has stated that the new measures aim to prevent the misuse of the visa system by international students who switch from the student route to work routes before completing their studies.
In addition to removing this particular right, there will be an examination of the maintenance requirement for students and their dependants. There will also be a crackdown of “unscrupulous” education agents “who make use of inappropriate applications to sell immigration, not education”.
These changes will be implemented for students commencing their courses from January 2024, allowing prospective international students sufficient time to make necessary preparations.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, in a ministerial statement released today, highlighted “unexpected rise” in the number of dependants accompanying international students as revealed by recent immigration data.
According to Ms. Braverman, the rise occurred following the government’s pledge to reduce net migration.
Ms Braverman said that while the government’s strategy around international education “plays an important part in supporting the economy”, it should “not be at the expense of our commitment to the public to lower overall migration”.
“This package strikes the right balance between acting decisively on tackling net migration and protecting the economic benefits that students can bring to the UK,” she said.
“Now is the time for us to make these changes to ensure an impact on net migration as soon as possible. We expect this package to have a tangible impact on net migration. Taken together with the easing of temporary factors, we expect net migration to fall to pre-pandemic levels in the medium term.”