According to Richard Montgomery, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Visa decision to limit international students’ ability to bring dependents with them beginning in 2024 is not intended to harm Nigerians but rather to safeguard UK infrastructure given the recent rise in international students bringing family members from all over the world.
The Vice President Kashim Shettima was seen by the British High Commissioner on Wednesday at the State House in Abuja.
He acknowledged that both the total number of international students and the number of Nigerian students studying in the UK surged five-fold in just three years.
Although this is a “fantastic success story for our universities,” Montgomery continued, it is often difficult to locate homes and services for the large population entering the UK with their families.
In order to prevent people from using the student visa as a backdoor route to employment in the UK, the UK Home Office said in May that it will limit international students from bringing family members with them starting in 2024.
When asked if he and the Vice President had addressed migration between Nigeria and the UK, the British High Commissioner replied that they had not, but added, “I would like to put the media debate about it in a broader context.”
“Last year (2022), for instance, the UK granted three million new visas, of which 325,000 were granted to Nigerians,” Montgomery stated. Consequently, more than 10% of travelers to London and the UK are from Nigeria.
I’d also like to give some background on the subject of student visas. In the past three years, the number of Nigerian students studying in the UK has multiplied five times. For our colleges, it’s a wonderful success story. And the fact that so many Nigerians are visiting the UK makes us quite happy.
“The problem with people being unable to bring dependents with them is largely due to other countries throughout the world, where more students are attempting to do so.
There are two problems here: first, it’s not always possible to find housing and services to meet all of the needs of our current student population, and second, we’ll need to control the number of visitors and immigration into and out of the UK, just like the Nigerian government does.