Foreign students may be barred from the UK unless they win a place at a top university under Rishi Sunak’s plans to curb record immigration.
All foreign students will also have new restrictions on bringing family members with them after the number of dependants almost tripled in a year.
The prime minister said that “all options” were on the table after it emerged that total immigration had reached an estimated 1.1 million in the year to June. About 560,000 people emigrated, leaving net migration at a record 504,000, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
That is triple the 173,000 net migration in the previous 12 months, and higher than the pre-Brexit record of 336,000 in the year to March 2015.
This means international students are expected to enrol at the UK’s top universities.
UK data showed that 34,000 Nigerians were issued visas in 12 months and were accompanied by 31,898 dependants.
Sunak said: “We are investigating all alternatives to ensure that the immigration system delivers,” he added, “including the issue of students’ dependents and low-quality degrees.
The prime minister also added that “all options” were on the table to curb the estimated 1.1 million migrants, Guardian UK reports.
Suella Braverman, UK home secretary, also remained committed to reducing migration.
The public rightly expects us to control our borders and we remain committed to reducing migration over time in line with our manifesto commitment.
Data from the UK Statistics Authority showed that students accounted for the biggest proportion of immigrants, at 277,000, nearly double the 143,000 who came to the UK in the year to June 2021.