The number of dependents from Nigerian students has been the highest among other foreign students in the United Kingdom, rising from 1,427 in 2019 to 60,506 at the end of September 2023.
This was disclosed in a report issued by the UK government adding that the unprecedented surge of dependents of Nigerian foreign students exceeded the number from India which had 43,445 at the end of September which had 2,127 in 2019.
“Part of the increase in dependants is linked to the increase in main applicants (see section 1) but there have also been large increases in dependants of Indian and Nigerian nationals,” UK said.
“There were 60,506 dependants of Nigerian nationals in the year ending September 2023, an increase of 59,079 compared to 2019 and 9,435 more visas issued than to main applicants in the same period.
“Indian nationals had the second highest number of dependants, increasing from 2,127 to 43,445 in the same time period.”
The UK said both the overall number of families and the portion of all sponsored study-related visas granted to dependants have risen since 2019.
“This may reflect a change in the composition of students coming to study in the UK with more students coming for higher education compared to before the pandemic,” the UK said.
Recall that the UK announced in May 2023 that the dependant visa ban policy will be effective from January 2024 which restricts students who are not applying for doctorate programmes from bringing their family members with them to the European country.
Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister-led government said the policy has been designed to address the housing issues and flow of immigrants in the UK.
Corroborating this in the recent report, the UK government said students coming to study at a higher level are typically older and might be more likely to have already established a family.
The report also revealed 486,107 persons from India, China, Nigeria, the United States and Pakistan migrated to the UK for study purposes at the end of September 2023.
India topped the list, followed by China, Nigeria, Pakistan and the United States respectively among the five countries mentioned.
However, out of the countries, Pakistan had the highest percentage increase, of up to 33 percent to 33,150 at the end of September 2023.
“Indian nationals in the year ending September 2023, a small increase of 5,804 (+5%) compared to the year ending September 2022 but their numbers are now nearly 5 times higher than in the year ending September 2019,” the report said.
“Indian nationals accounted for over one-quarter (27%) of all sponsored study grants to main applicants in the latest year.”
“Chinese nationals were the second most common nationality granted sponsored study visas in year ending September 2023, with 108,978 visas granted (22% of the total).
“Grants to Chinese nationals decreased by 7% compared to the preceding year. Chinese and Indian nationals together comprised half (50%) of all sponsored study grants.
“Nigerian nationals were issued 51,071 sponsored study visas in the year ending September 2023, similar to the previous year but around 8 times the number in the year ending September 2019.”