Visa Restriction On Foreign Students’ Family Not Targeted At Nigerians, Says UK Envoy

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery says the decision of the United Kingdom (UK) restricting foreign students from bringing dependents with them starting in 2024 is not targeted at Nigerians rather it is to protect UK infrastructure as the number of students bringing their family members from all around the world surged in the last couple of years.

The British High Commissioner stated this on Wednesday after he met with Vice President Kashim Shettima at the State House, Abuja.

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He admitted that the number of Nigerian students coming to the UK increased five folds in three years, just as the overall number of international students also increased.

Montgomery added that though this is a “fantastic success story for our universities”, it is not always possible to find housing and services for the high number of the population coming into the UK with their families.

In May, the UK Home Office said it will restrict foreign students from bringing family members with them effective 2024 to stop people from using the student visa as a backdoor channel to work in the UK.

Asked whether migration between Nigeria and the UK was discussed at his meeting with the Vice President, British High Commissioner said the issue was not raised at the meeting “but I would like to put the media debate about it in a broader context”.

Montgomery said, “Last year (2022), for example, the UK granted three million new visas, of which 325,000 of those visas were Nigerians. So, Nigerian visitors constitute over 10 per cent of the people coming to London and the UK.

“On the issue of student visas, I’ll also like to provide a context. The number of Nigerian students coming to the UK has increased five folds in the last three years. It’s a fantastic success story for our universities. And we are really delighted that so many Nigerians are coming to the UK.

“The issue about restrictions on people bringing dependents, that’s partly not because of Nigeria but many parts of the world, many more students are trying to bring their dependents with them.

“There are two issues here: the first is – it’s not always possible to find the housing and services to meet all the needs of all our existing student population and secondly, we’ll have to manage our visitors’ number, we have to manage migration in and out of the UK just as the Nigerian Government does.”


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