What are the UK’s new immigration rules for international students?

·2-min read
What are the UK’s new immigration rules for international students?

The Government is set to introduce new immigration rules that will involve most international students being banned from bringing their families to the UK with them.

A significant factor behind the rising migration numbers in recent years has been an increase in foreign students and their dependants arriving, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.

One of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledges to Brits was that he would reduce net migration in the country.

On Thursday (May 25), new figures were released by the ONS which showed UK net migration reached record highs last year, with 606,000 moving to the UK in 2022.

A graduate visa currently allows master’s students to bring their partners and children to the country with them. They can stay for 24 months after the students’ courses finish.

The new rule regarding foreign students will not apply to PhD students, whose training often lasts between three to five years and aims to produce highly skilled workers.

The Sun reported that Tory MPs had recently been calling Mr Sunak to urge him to get a grip of the situation. Ministers are expected to announce further immigration clampdowns on Tuesday and Wednesday, including the formal confirmation of the new rules regarding international pupils.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which advises ministers on migration issues, has also suggested limiting the amount of time overseas students are allowed to remain in the country.

The chairman of the committee, Professor Brian Bell, told the Sunday Telegraph it found it “unnecessary” for foreign students to be allowed to work in the UK for two years after completing their master’s degrees.

Another new immigration rule Home Secretary Suella Braverman wanted to introduce was related to salary thresholds. Foreign workers are currently expected to earn at least £26,000 to be able to move to the UK. Ms Braverman wanted to increase this threshold to £33,000 to match the average wage in the country, but the Treasury overruled the proposal.

The home secretary has also said that more Brits should be trained to work as lorry drivers and fruit pickers to meet the demand without needing to rely on immigrant workers.

However, the prime minister has said that more seasonal workers would be allowed into the UK if there is a need for it. Talking to farmers and other food producers last week, he said that an extra 10,000 visas would be made available for the agriculture sector on top of the current 45,000 allocated.