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Nigerian Students, Others No Longer Able To Bring Dependants — UK

With Nigeria’s unemployment rate at a new record high of over 33.3 per cent, the mass exodus known as the ‘Japa’ phenomenon is in full swing.


In this file photo taken on December 31, 2020, a UK border sign welcomes passengers on arrival at Heathrow airport in west London. Ben FATHERS / AFP

 

The United Kingdom Home Office says effective January 1, 2024, overseas students including those from Nigeria will no longer be able to bring family members to the country. 

“We are fully committed to seeing a decisive cut in migration,” the UK Home Office said in a New Year post on X (formerly Twitter).

“From today (Monday), new overseas students will no longer be able to bring family members to the UK.”

The Home Office, however, exempted postgraduate research or government-funded scholarship students from the ban.

 

 

The UK is one of the top destinations for Nigerian youths who are relocating in pursuit of better education, employment and security purposes, among other reasons. With Nigeria’s unemployment rate at a new record high of over 33.3 per cent, the mass exodus known as the ‘Japa’ phenomenon is in full swing.

The United Kingdom had first announced moves to stop overseas students from bringing migrants to the UK in mid-2023. The move was part of an immigration crackdown on students moving family members to the UK.

At least 135,788 family members reportedly tagged along as students moved into Britain for study in 2022 — nine times more than in 2019.

“Last year, 59,053 Nigerian students brought over 60,923 relatives,” a report noted.

The UK also announced that it would raise the minimum salary threshold for a skilled worker visa and prevent overseas health and social care staff from bringing family dependents to Britain.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office trumpeted the proposals as “the biggest clampdown on legal migration ever”.

But critics said it would damage the state-run National Health Service (NHS), which faces staff shortages.

Immigration is set to be a key issue in nationwide elections that must be held by January 2025 at the latest, and which the main opposition Labour party is currently favoured to win.

Sunak has pledged to reduce new arrivals and has been under pressure ever since statistics released last month showed that net migration to Britain hit a high in 2022.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of people who arrived in Britain last year was 745,000 more than the number who left.

Interior minister James Cleverly said his plan would result in 300,000 fewer people coming to the UK in the coming years.

“Enough is enough,” the home secretary told parliament as he laid out his proposals, which will take effect early next year.