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Some have argued that the Home Office announcement banning international PGTs from bringing dependants into the country represents a “kneejerk reaction” to a positive response to the graduate route.

Their argument is that eventually students will leave – but that given the graduate route (offering two years of post-study work) only opened in the summer of 2021, in the meantime net migration figures will look distorted.

That sounds like a subtlety too far for Britain’s fractious immigration debate. We get net migration figures twice a year, and given the prominent role that students (and their dependants) played in numbers six months ago, if anything it’s a wonder that it’s taken the government so long to act.

Suella Braverman’s big announcement was an attempt to get ahead of the figures – we now have 2022’s numbers, alongside the quarterly numbers for visa issuance from the Home Office covering the first quarter of 2023. The question is what those figures tell us about what might happen next.

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