The United Kingdom may be planning to ban foreign students from bringing family

The United Kingdom is planning to restrict international students from bringing immediate family members like spouses and children unless they study “high-value” degrees.

As per a news report published in The Times, only international students studying science, mathematics, and engineering will be able to bring their dependents to the UK.

Foreign students would also be banned from bringing families unless they are studying at a higher level, such as a master’s degree or PhD, the report added.

Britain has registered a near-eightfold rise in the number of family members joining foreign students. As per the immigration figures, nearly 5 lakh students were given visas last year. They were accompanied by 135,788 dependants — spouses and children — up from 16,047 in 2019.

Of these, India became the largest source of students with 161,000 students, including 33,240 dependents, coming to the UK last year.

Asylum backlog hit a record high, with more than 160,000 migrants waiting for decisions on their applications, the report said.

However, the report said that the government is yet to take a final decision on this contentious matter.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has drawn up proposals to reduce the number, which includes shortening the duration foreign students can stay in Britain post their course.

However, according to the Department of Education, the restrictions will bankrupt UK universities, which depend on foreign students for money.

According to estimates, international students add 35 billion pounds a year to the economy.

According to UK-based New Way Consultancy, foreign students and their dependents contributed to the UK economy not just through fees of 10,000 pounds to 26,000 pounds but also via an NHS surcharge of 400 pounds a year for the student and 600 pounds for a dependent.

It warned that curbs on graduate work visas will force Indian students to shift to countries like Australia and Canada, ultimately leading to the end of the student market in the UK.

Source: Economic Times