UK's Dependents Policy Change Deters Many Indian Students from Choosing the Country
Earlier this week, Suella Braverman, the UK Secretary of State for the Home Department, made an announcement regarding significant changes to immigration policies that will impact Indian students planning to pursue higher education in the country.
One of the key measures introduced by the UK Home Secretary is the removal of the right for international students to bring dependents, except for those enrolled in postgraduate courses designated as research programs.
The decision to implement this change stemmed from immigration statistics revealing an unexpected surge in the number of dependents accompanying international students to the UK.
The UK has long been an attractive destination for Indian students seeking quality education and global exposure. However, with the introduction of this policy change, the allure of studying in the UK may diminish for many Indian students. The ability to have family support and the opportunity to experience a diverse and inclusive learning environment are significant factors that influence their decision-making process.
By limiting these aspects, the UK government risks losing out on a considerable number of Indian students who may choose alternative countries for their higher education journey.
According to Braverman, the significance of the international education strategy lies in its support of the UK economy through the valuable economic contributions made by students. However, this support should not undermine our dedication to reducing overall migration and prioritizing highly skilled individuals who can offer the greatest benefits to the UK. The current proposals we are unveiling aim to uphold our commitments to the international education strategy while actively contributing to the achievement of sustainable levels of net migration. It is important to note that the terms of the graduate route remain unaltered.
The impact of this policy change extends beyond individual students and their families to the broader housing market in university towns and cities. Typically, when families accompany students, they often seek larger accommodation options suitable for families. However, with the restriction on bringing family members, Indian students may opt for smaller and more affordable housing options, such as shared accommodations or university-provided housing. This shift in preferences is likely to have implications for the demand and availability of different types of housing in these areas.
Regarding these recent announcements
Karan Bilimoria, a member of the British House of Lords and President of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), shared his thoughts on these announcements. , a national advisory body serving the interests of international students, told the Times of India: "It will definitely affect some international students who, if they cannot bring their dependents with them, even for a one-year master's program, will choose another country."
However, Bilimoria acknowledged the relief that the two-year postgraduate work visa has not been reduced. He further emphasized that the UK competes with the USA, Australia, and Canada in a global race. Australia, for instance, currently offers a minimum of four years of post-graduation work visa, double the duration offered by the UK.
In conclusion, the UK government's recent policy change regarding dependents has raised concerns among many Indian students. The absence of family support, increased financial burden, and limited housing options are key factors that may deter Indian students from choosing the UK for higher education. It remains to be seen how this policy change will impact the flow of Indian students to the UK and whether alternative measures will be introduced to address these concerns.