As per a new restriction announced a few days ago by the UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, foreign students won’t be allowed to travel with their family members to the United Kingdom effective from January 2024. Also, international students will no longer be able to switch out of the student route into work routes before their studies are completed “to prevent misuse of the visa system.
There will also be a crackdown on “unscrupulous” education agents “Who makes use of inappropriate applications to sell immigration, not education.” According to the UK Home Office, this plan is aimed at reducing net migration to sustainable levels. The net migration rose to more than 700,000 in the year to December 2022. International students brought 135,788 family members to the UK in 2022.
Reacting to this new restriction package, the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) has said it is disappointed to hear the restrictions on the dependents of international students, which will come into force from January 2024. “As disappointing as this announcement is, it is worth stressing that the restrictions will not impact the vast majority of Indians seeking to study in the UK. It is important to highlight several important things,” said a statement issued by the council.
“Indian and other international students can still undertake studies in the UK, with no limits on the number of Indian students that can study in the UK. The UK and UK universities remain welcoming and committed to international students; indeed, all the UK universities that the UKIBC work with are deepening their engagement with India and Indian students; and The hugely important post study work visa rules remain in place, allowing Indians to live and work in the UK for two years after graduation. Employers in the UK appreciate the benefits this brings them, providing access to highly-skilled and ambitious young Indians, the statement added.
Student mobility has been a hugely positive development in the UK-India bilateral story in recent years, with figures showing that in the last full academic year of 2021-22, 126,535 students from India were studying in the UK, the second most of any nationality.