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Nigerian applicants for UK study visa halved after dependants ban

Nigerian applicants for UK study visa halved after dependants ban
May 24
09:45 2024

The number of Nigerians seeking education in the UK have dropped by nearly half after the government banned students from coming with dependants mid last year.

The Home Office said the development was necessary to stop people from using the student visa as a backdoor route to work in the UK.

Only PhD students who are highly skilled and whose courses last between three to five years were exempted from the ban.

Figures published by the Home Office on Thursday showed that India — the largest contributor of international students to the UK — saw 16 percent fewer main applicants granted visas, and 31 percent fewer dependants.

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The number of Nigerian applicants also fell by a record 39 percent and the number of Nigerian dependants by 40 percent.

Together, these two countries now make up 62 percent of all dependant visas issued in the last 12 months — down from 73 percent in March 2023.

In 2022, a few months before the ban, Nigerians accounted for the highest increase in the number of dependants accompanying persons with study visas in 2022.

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Nigerian nationals also accounted for the largest increase in sponsored study grants compared with 2019, rising by 57,545 (+686 percent) to a record high of 65,929, making them the third largest nationality group.

Rishi Sunak, prime minister of the UK, had reportedly been considering restricting and even scrapping the visa route, which allows students to work in the UK for up to two years after graduation.

However, Sunak was said to have withdrawn his plans after appeals from David Cameron, foreign secretary; Jeremy Hunt, chancellor; Gillian Keegan, education secretary; and James Cleverly, home secretary.

The cabinet members were reported to have raised concerns about the impact on universities and the economy if the rules were changed.

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