131

A blow to overseas student

The British government changes the rules for foreign students from time to time. Recently, the home secretary Suella Braverman has rushed out stringent curbs on international students who come to study in the UK amid growing pressure on the home secretary over her conduct in office. Now the question is that how foreign student will students survive when they are only allowed to work just 20 hours a week? Under proposals released in parliament on Tuesday, overseas students will no longer be able to bring family with them except under specific circumstances as the government seeks to reduce immigration numbers. Only overseas students on courses designated as research programmes, such as PhD students or research-led masters courses, will be able to bring dependants with them under new rules to curb net migration. Reacting to the proposals, a lecturers’ union said they were “deeply shameful” and anti-migrant, while universities said they would disproportionately affect women and people from certain countries.
Nigeria had the highest number of dependants of student visa holders in 2022, with 60,923. Indian nationals had the second highest number of dependants, with an increase from 3,135 in 2019 to 38,990 in 2022, followed by students from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It comes as Braverman, who is committed to reducing immigration to “tens of thousands”, braces herself for figures released on Thursday that will show net migration to the UK is more than 700,000.
Labour party said it will not oppose the measures because “proper enforcement” is “long overdue”. The policy was released in a written ministerial statement as the government answered an urgent question on whether Braverman told officials to organise a private speed-awareness course in breach of the ministerial code. Downing Street has rejected suggestions that Rishi Sunak is dithering over whether to launch a formal inquiry into Braverman’s conduct. Under the proposals, the government will remove the ability for international students to switch out of the student route and into work routes before their studies have been completed. As well as removing this right, there will also be a review of the maintenance requirement for students and dependants, and a crackdown on “unscrupulous” education providers “who make use of inappropriate applications to sell immigration, not education”. Braverman wrote: “The immigration statistics also highlighted an unexpected rise in the number of dependants coming to the UK alongside international students. About 136,000 visas were granted to dependants of sponsored students in the year ending December 2022, a more than eightfold increase from 16,000 in 2019.” The changes will come into effect from January 2024 to allow future international students time to plan. Official statistics due to be published this week are expected to show net migration increased from 504,000 in the 12 months to June 2022 to more than 700,000 in the year to December. Jo Grady, the general secretary of the University and College Union, said the proposals were “a vindictive move” and “deeply shameful”. “Those who choose to study in the UK, no matter where they are from, bring huge value to our society and deserve the right to live alongside their loved ones. Instead, they are being treated with contempt.

Express your opinion