British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was roasted on social media after he said that the majority of foreign university students cannot bring their family members to the UK. According to the new rules, from January 2024, international students in the UK will no longer be able to bring dependents on their student visa, unless they are studying a postgraduate research programme.
In a tweet, UK’s Home Office said that it was fully committed to seeing a decisive cut in migration. “New overseas students will no longer be able to bring family members to the UK,” it said.
In July last year, the Sunak government published changes to the Immigration Rules which affect international students studying in the UK. From 17 July last year, international students are no longer permitted to switch to work route visas unless they have completed their course.
Last month, the UK Prime Minister said that immigration was too high and that his government was taking radical action to bring it down. “These steps will make sure that immigration always benefits the UK.” He said his government was banning overseas students from bringing their families to the UK unless they were on postgraduate research degrees. “Stopping immigration undercutting British workers. Scrapping 20 per cent going rate salary discounts offered for shortage occupations,” he said.
In December 2023, UK Home Secretary James Cleverly announced a plan to slash migration levels and curb abuse of the immigration system, delivering the biggest-ever reduction in net migration. “Together, this package will mean around 300,000 people who came to the UK last year would now not be able to come.”
The Home Office said that the package of measures would end the high numbers of dependents coming to the UK, increase the minimum salaries that overseas workers and British or settled people sponsoring family members must earn, and tackle exploitation across the immigration system.
From next spring, the government said, it will increase the earning threshold for overseas workers by nearly 50 per cent from £26,200 to £38,700, encouraging businesses to look to British talent first and invest in their workforce, helping it to deter employers from over-relying on migration.
The UK government said that it will also increase the minimum income required for British citizens and those settled in the UK who want their family members to join them. “This new package of measures builds on the tough action already taken to tackle the substantial rise in students bringing dependants to the UK, which will come into force in the new year.”
The UK Home Office also said that workers and their dependents accounted for some of the highest proportion of visas being issued, with Skilled Worker and Health and Care Worker visas accounting for 63 per cent of work grants, and the proportion of work-related visas being granted to dependants rising to 43 per cent in the year ending September 2023.