Not a blanket ban, but…: Expert on how new UK visa rules will affect Indian immigrants

    In a bid to curb net migration in the United Kingdom, the Rishi Sunak government has decided to tighten the visa rules. Earlier this week, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced policy changes that include putting a ban on overseas students from bringing dependents to the country and removing the ability for international students to switch to work visas before finishing their courses.

    Speaking about the policy changes, Braverman later tweeted, The significant rise in students bringing family members is putting untenable pressure on public services. Tightening the student route will help to cut migration by restricting post-graduate students from bringing dependents or using the route as a backdoor to work.


    Why did the Sunak government decide to tighten the visa rules?

    The measure was put in place to pre-empt figures released Thursday which show that in the year to December 2022, net migration in the UK rose to a record level of 606,000.

    Many politicians and UK citizens believe the current migration figure is too high and the ruling Conservative Party has given a manifesto pledge to reduce these numbers significantly, Yash Dubal, director of A Y & J Solicitors, said

    “There will be a general election in the UK next year and the Conservatives are currently trailing in the polls and could lose power, so the decision to ban dependents of students is political.”

    How will it affect Indian immigrants in the UK?

    In 2022 a total of 135,788 visas granted were to dependents of students. A significant number of these are from India as nearly 118,000 Indian students received a Student visa in the year ending June 2022 – an 89% increase from 2021.

    So, surely the policy changes are likely to affect a large section of Indian students who plan to move to the UK and have a family, Dubal adds.

    Meanwhile, Ajay Sharma, Founder and President – Abhinav Immigration Services cited, “it may not drastically impact the international student community as most international students are aged between 18 to 25 years.”

    Moreover, the proposed policy cannot be considered a blanket ban, but the visas for dependents may be issued to students of top universities or high-value courses, he concludes.

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    Updated: 26 May 2023, 02:45 PM IST

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