The UK government on Tuesday announced a new immigration crackdown targeted at overseas students, including Indians, and their visa right to bring dependant family members to the country while enrolled at a British institution. In a written statement to the House of Commons, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman said that only international students on postgraduate courses currently designated as research programs will be allowed to bring in their family members, including children and elderly parents, as their dependants.
The Indian-origin minister said the new package of measures was necessary after it emerged that around 136,000 visas were granted to dependants of sponsored students in the year ending December 2022 – a more than eight-fold increase from 16,000 in 2019.
“This package includes: removing the right for international students to bring dependants unless they are on postgraduate courses currently designated as research programs,” Braverman’s statement notes.
Removing the ability for international students to switch out of the student route into work routes before their studies have been completed and reviewing the maintenance requirements for students and dependants are listed among the other new measures.
The minister also pledged steps to clamp down on unscrupulous education agents “who may be supporting inappropriate applications to sell immigration, not education”.
Improved and more targeted enforcement activity is also listed within the new package.