Nigerians and other immigrant students may soon face deportation after completing their studies, according to the latest development in a long-running dispute over international student numbers in the UK.
This comes as Suella Braverman, the UK Home Secretary, and the Department of Education debate the issue of post-study visas for international students.
According to UK media reports, Braverman is currently attempting to limit the amount of time that foreign students can stay in the UK after graduation.
What Braverman is saying: According to reports, Braverman has committed to reducing immigration and’substantially reducing’ the number of unskilled foreign workers entering the UK, from 239,000 to tens of thousands.
Furthermore, she wishes to limit the number of international students who are eligible to apply for a graduate post-study work visa, which allows any student who has completed their degree to stay and work in the UK for at least two years.
However, the Department of Education is said to be opposing Braverman’s plan to reduce that to six months, after which they must have a skilled job that qualifies them for a work visa or leave the UK.
Post-study work visa: Students who come to the UK to study can currently stay for two years after graduation. Many Nigerians have been drawn to this opportunity because the United Kingdom is typically the first country of choice for international education.
This is not unrelated to the poor state of academic facilities and teaching standards in Nigerian universities.
A major quandary: “Education officials fear this will make the UK less appealing to foreign students, who pay far more than UK students for their courses and are a major source of income for universities,” according to reports.
According to data from the UK’s home office, which Nairametrics previously reported, the number of study visas granted to Nigerians increased by 222.8%, with 65,929 tickets issued as of June 2022, compared to 20,427 in the same period in 2021.
Similarly, other reports show that Nigerian students and their dependents in the UK contributed an estimated £1.9 billion to the country’s economy.
According to figures for the 2021-2022 academic year, the working spouses of these students paid a total of £54.3 million in taxes, in addition to a reported sum of £680,620,000 in school fees.
All stakeholders are waiting for the outcome of this disaster with bated breath.