The UK government as barred international students from bringing family members as dependents to the country in a move to cut immigration.

The changes will come into effect from January 2024.

Under the new proposals, only students on longer postgraduate courses designated as research programmes, such as PhD, will be able to bring dependents to the UK while they study.

Also, overseas students will be prevented from switching out of the student route into work routes before their studies have been completed.

There will also be improved and more enforcement activity and a clamp down on unscrupulous agents using education as a cover for immigration, according to the government statement.

It said net migration has been steadily on the rise and is reportedly expected to hit a record high this year.

In the year ending December 2022, 486,000 student visas were issued to applicants – up from 269,000 in 2019.

Last year, the number of student visas issued to dependants stood at 136,000 – an eightfold increase from 2019, when 16,000 were provided.

Immigration figures point to an explosion in the number of people relocating to Britain on the privilege of their relatives’ student visas.

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