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UK announces new immigration measures which restrict foreign students, families
As officials come under increasing pressure to reduce immigration, the UK government on Tuesday proposed a package of measures aimed at overseas students, including a restriction on some family members.
Net migration has increased gradually since the pandemic’s low point and is apparently on track to reach a record level this year.
According to official data released in November, net migration up to June 2022 is expected to be little over 500,000.
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Only students enrolled in postgraduate degrees that are categorised as research programmes would be permitted to bring dependents to the UK while they are studying under the proposed proposals.
Overseas students will be prevented from switching “out of the student route into work routes” before their studies have been completed.
There will also be “improved and more enforcement activity” and a clamp down on “unscrupulous agents” using education as a cover for immigration, according to a government statement.
Some 136,000 visas were issued to the dependants of international students last year — up eight-fold from the 16,000 in 2019, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said in a written statement to parliament.
But she added that it should not come at the cost of the government’s “commitment to the public to lower overall migration and ensure that migration to the UK is highly skilled and therefore provides the most benefit”.
Braverman said the proposals struck the “right balance” and would likely see net migration “fall to pre-pandemic levels in the medium term”.