Suella Braverman has announced a ban on International students bringing dependent family members with them to the UK from 2024 due to the unexpected rise of net migration.
This announcement excludes postgraduate research students who arguably provide greater economic benefits.
Ms. Braverman said: “This package strikes the right balance between acting decisively on tackling net migration and protecting the economic benefits that students can bring to the UK.”
Suella Braverman said the rise in dependants being granted visas was “unprecedented,” and it was “time for us to tighten up this route to ensure we can cut migration numbers”.
“Now is the time for us to make these changes to ensure an impact on net migration as soon as possible. We expect this package to have a tangible impact on net migration.
“Taken together with the easing of temporary factors, we expect net migration to fall to pre-pandemic levels in the medium term.”
However, in the short to medium term, an uptick in people arriving does affect net migration estimates. This is because an increase in immigration should in theory be followed by an increase in emigration. But the expected emigration typically takes 2-3 years to materialize. This means that recent increases in work and study migration are expected to lead to temporarily higher estimates of net migration for at least 2-3 years before emigration catches up.
According to the migration observatory at the University of Oxford, Net migration is a commonly used measure of the overall scale of migration in the UK. It takes into account not just people moving to the country, but also those leaving. This helps understand migration’s contribution to population growth—especially since many people who move to the UK do not remain here permanently. However, the net migration measure has many flaws. For example, it tells us little about who is arriving and leaving or what their impacts are. It can also produce counterintuitive or misleading figures when migration patterns change substantially in a short period, as discussed further below. The UK is unusual in its choice to use net migration in policy debates as the main measure for discussing migration levels.
International Student figures are expected to hit record levels on Thursday crossing 700,000.
According to HESA, an education data group, there were 679,970 international students in the UK in 2021/2022.
Of these 307,470 were undergraduates, who already can’t bring family members to the UK during their course.
There were 372,500 postgraduates, of whom 46,350 are on research courses – the vast majority of them for PhDs, along with a small number of research-based masters degrees.
Students coming to the UK with a visa need to provide documents proving their relationship to dependents, and must pay £490 for a visa.
Dependants are also required to pay the immigration health surcharge – an annual contribution between £470 and £624 towards NHS services.
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