UKIBC statement on UK Government restriction on international students’ families

By Kealan Finnegan

Student mobility has been a hugely positive development in the UK-India bilateral story in recent years, with figures showing that in the last full academic year of 2021-22, 126,535 students from India were studying in the UK, the second most of any nationality.

We are therefore disappointed to hear today’s restrictions on the dependents of international students, which will come into force from January 2024.

As disappointing as this announcement is, it is worth stressing that the restrictions will not impact the vast majority of Indians seeking to study in the UK. It is important to highlight several important things:

  • Indian and other international students can still undertake studies in the UK, with no limits on the number of Indian students that can study in the UK;
  • The UK and UK universities remain welcoming and committed to international students; indeed, all the UK universities that the UKIBC work with are deepening their engagement with India and Indian students; and
  • The hugely important post study work visa rules remain in place, allowing Indians to live and work in the UK for two years after graduation. Employers in the UK appreciate the benefits this brings them, providing access to highly-skilled and ambitious young Indians.

Talent and human capital are essential to any economy and the movement of students between our countries is of benefit to both nations, enabling us to share skills, knowledge, and innovation. Indeed, student mobility is a win-win-win, as it benefits:

  • students, through expanded education opportunities and enabling them to make lifelong friends and professional connections;
  • UK universities, by enhancing academic life and debate on campus, contributing to R&D, and through the fees paid by international students which help sustain and enhance the health of the UK’s higher education sector; and
  • the UK and Indian economies, by sharing skills, ideas, and making those all-important personal, academic and professional connections.

It is therefore important to sustain the excellent progress made in recent years to expand student mobility and deepen academic collaboration between the UK and India. It was positive to see the Government reaffirm its commitment to the International Education Strategy which plays an important part in supporting the economy through the economic contribution students can bring to the UK.

It is a cause to which we at the UKIBC, our partners across UK and Indian universities, and our wider stakeholders are very much committed.

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