Changes to international student visa rules that restrict foreign students from bringing family members to the UK could hit the economy of university towns across the UK, local leaders have warned.
Earlier this week the Home Office confirmed that visas will no longer be granted to dependents of postgraduate students from outside the UK, with some exceptions being made for PhD students. Last year 135,788 visas were given to foreign students' dependents. Almost 500,000 student visas were given out in that time period, marking a 750 per cent increase from three years ago.
The new reforms proposed by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, which will come into force in January 2024, are part of the government's overall drive to reduce UK net migration, after figures hit a record high of 606,000 in 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics.
But the government has been accused by local leaders of failing to consider the broader economic impact the policy could have on towns and cities which benefit from the millions of pounds brought in by foreign students and their families.