Article summary

  • UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to reduce legal migration levels, describing them as too high, in response to record-breaking net migration figures.
  • Sunak announced new measures to limit the number of family members that students studying in the UK can bring with them, aiming to bring down the number of dependents that has risen significantly in recent years.
  • British MP Carol Monaghan criticized the new visa policy that prevents international students from bringing their families as dependents, stating that students make valuable contributions to the UK’s economy and society.

In response to the UK’s record-breaking net migration figures of 606,000 in 2022, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to decrease legal immigration levels.

Rishi Sunak in a recent interview with ITV, addressed the concerning issue of record-high net migration figures in the country.

Sunak acknowledged the gravity of the situation and vowed to take action, emphasizing that current legal immigration levels were deemed excessively high. As public pressure mounts, the government faces the challenge of implementing effective measures to curb immigration and strike a balance between national interests and the country’s economic needs.

Will bring them down

  • Reacting to fresh estimates showing net migration at a new record high of 606,000 last year, Sunak said, “Numbers are too high, it’s as simple as that. And I want to bring them down.
  • ‘’And that’s why this week we announced some new measures and I think pretty much the biggest thing anyone has ever announced to bring the levels of migration down is a new policy that limits the amount of family members that people who are studying here can bring with them when they come and study here.
  • ‘’And what we have seen over the past few years is that the number of dependents has absolutely spiraled, almost 150,000 dependants of people that are studying come in. We are saying from now on, that’s not going to be allowed.’’
  • Asked whether immigration is out of control, the Prime Minister said, “Well, no, I think the numbers are just too high.’’

British MP kicks against immigration policy

Meanwhile, a member of the UK Parliament, Carol Monaghan, has kicked against the United Kingdom’s new visa policy preventing Nigerian students, and others studying in the UK, from bringing family as dependents except under specific circumstances.

Monaghan made this known while speaking at parliament on Wednesday where she stated that students made valuable contributions to the UK’s economy.

She said that international students enriched the UK’s society in all sectors, including healthcare, noting that withholding international students from bringing their families will make many of them opt to go elsewhere.

  • She said, “International students make an invaluable contribution to the economy.’’
  • The lawmaker in the viral video added, “The reality is that many students who come into the UK look beyond their studies and want their families to be part of their experience.
  • “Withholding overseas students from bringing their families, many will opt to go elsewhere and any drop in international students numbers will cause further harm to universities that are already facing financial difficulties.”

Provided £43 billion to the UK economy

She revealed that in 2022, the international students provided almost £43 billion to the UK economy, adding that they enrich the society and have skills that are vital to post-Brexit climate

Carol Monaghan said, ‘’Last year international students provided nearly £43bn to the UK economy… They enrich our society & have skills that are proving vital in the post-Brexit climate. Without a way for overseas students to bring their families, many will opt to go elsewhere.’’

What you should know

Immigration has long been a key political and contentious issue in the UK and was one of the main battlegrounds of the Brexit referendum in 2016, which saw the country leave the European Union.

In 2021, net migration the difference between the number of people leaving the UK and those arriving — was 488,000.

Jay Lindop, director of the Center for international migration at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said world events such as the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine played a part in the increase.

Some members of Sunak’s ruling Conservative party said current immigration levels were unsustainable, as house building in England has plunged to its lowest level since World War II.