UK Universities Disagree With Government’s Ban On Foreign Students’ Families

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Universities across the United Kingdom have faulted the country’s new immigration rules which bars foreign students from bringing their families as dependants as part of new measures to check the influx of immigrants.

The universities across the UK said the move was a threat to the country’s global success as a top destination for international talent and needed to be considered very carefully.

According to a statement issued by the Director of the UK International, UUK, Jamie Arrowsmith, the body of universities specifically said the development will worsen their financial pressure in the United Kingdom.

Arrowsmith said foreign students contributed largely to the economy, adding that UK nationals had a wide acceptance of international students.

Arrowsmith in the statement said, “International students make an invaluable contribution to our universities and to the UK’s economy.

“Building on the government’s explicit commitments and ambitions, which were clearly set out in the international education strategy, we have seen significant growth since 2019.

“Our research shows that international students make a huge economic contribution to the UK, with a single cohort delivering a total benefit of £41.9 billion.

“We also know that the public is overwhelmingly supportive of the international students we attract – just nine percent of people think we should be discouraging international students from choosing the UK.”

While Arrowsmith said he understood the impact an unchecked influx may be having in some areas, he asked the government to explore other ways of curbing immigration that would not cripple an already weakened financial situation for the universities.

The statement added, “While the vast majority of students will be unaffected by proposals that limit the ability to be accompanied by dependents, more information is needed on the programmes that are in scope before a proper assessment of the impact can be made.

“We, therefore, urge the government to work with the sector to limit and monitor the impact on particular groups of students – and on universities, which are already under serious financial pressures. The review process that has been announced must consider these issues.”

“Ultimately, our collective aim must be to ensure that international students who choose the UK can be confident that they are welcome here, that their contribution is valued, and that the terms on which they have made decisions remain stable. Anything that threatens to affect the UK’s global success as a top destination for international talent needs to be considered very carefully.’’

The UK government had 2 days ago announced the introduction of measures to restrict international students from bringing their families as dependents while studying in the country, except in specific circumstances as part of their efforts to reduce immigration.

It stated that these students will no longer be able to bring dependants with them unless they are on postgraduate courses that are currently designated as research programmes.

The government under the new package also said that it also removed the ability for international students to switch out of the student route and into work routes before their studies have been completed “to prevent misuse of the visa system.

Meanwhile, the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, in defense of the new policy, promised to reduce legal immigration levels in the country as the figures hit a record high of 606,000 in 2022, thereby putting pressure on the government which had pledged to cut dependency on foreign labour.

Culled from Nairametrics

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