UK Government to review dependent quota for Study Visa Grants

The UK home secretary is reportedly set to analyse the number of dependents International students can bring. This is will be done as part of immigration reveiws following w 500% increease in a space of a year.

The UK Government will discuss plans to enable sustainable immigration that would support the country’s growth whilst not relinquishing control.

In the 12 months leadng to June 2022, 486,868 sponsored study visad were granted including dependents. This represents 71% more than that of 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.

Out of that number were 81,089 visas granted to dependents of sponsored students, which was over 5 times the 2019 numbers as detailed in the UK Home Office national statistics.

The Home Secretary’s analysis of the immigration trend is reportedly done with the aim of bringing down the headline figure while also ensuring it boosts growth.

There was a 2022 Growth Plan presented to the UK Parliament by Kwasi Kwarteng, Chancellor of the exchequer that immigration in certain skilled roles was crucial for economic grwoth, productivity and innovation. The UK Government has restructured it’s immigration policy to shift the balance of people migrating to the UK to those with skills the UK needs. This is done with the goal of ensuring that immigration modalities are beneficial to businesses and encourage highly skilled people and high growth enterprises to choose to locate and invest in the UK.

The UK Telegraph reported that International students from Nigeria brought in the most dependents with 34,000 students bringing 31,898 dependants.

Indian students had the second most dependents with 93,100 students bringing 24,916 dependents.

Dependents from Libya were even higher than the number of students issued visas with 272 International Student applicants and 455 dependents

Analysis by the Home Office has previously acknowledged that those coming on sponsored study Visas bring relatively few dependents. 83% of the visas issued being to the main applicants, this only one in six visas are granted to dependents.

This is a far lower ratio compared to work visas where around two-thirds of grants were to main applicants and one-third to dependents.

A September 2021 report published by UUKi and HEPI offered a comprehensive analysis of the tremendous contribution of International students to the UK’s economic prosperity. The report stated that: “every part of the UK is financially better off – on average by £390 per person – because of international students”.

Research indicates that International students in the UK contribute a net economic benefit of £25.9 billion.

“Crucially, this figure excludes the tax and NI contribution of dependents working in the UK and so likely underestimates the total economic contribution that international students bring to the UK,” Jamie Arrowsmith, acting director of Universities UK International, said

“We want the UK to continue to be an open and welcoming destination for international students and talent from across the world. This includes offering some international students the opportunity to bring dependents and family members with them to the UK. This tends to be those studying full-time postgraduate courses,” Arrowsmith added.

“Dependent visas are a recognised part of the immigration system and anyone who enters the UK on this route is subject to UK immigration rules and must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which goes towards funding the NHS.”

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