International students will no longer be allowed to bring family members with them after 2024, according to the UK Department of Education. As the government works to cut back on immigration, this new cap was established about a month ago.
The regulation is an exemption for students enrolled in courses designated as research programmes, such as PhD students or research-led master's courses, who will still be allowed to bring dependents with them to the UK.
Indians now outnumber Chinese for UK student visas. In 2022, about 161,000 students came from them. 33,240 dependents.
Experts and Indian students said the new requirements had inevitably caused anxiety among prospective Indian students intending to study in the UK with their wives, children, or parents.
Vinu Jain, 28, who wanted to study in the UK for her MBA, chose not to register for the 2024–2025 academic year after learning that the government had banned students from bringing partners.
"I got married six months ago, and we decided this was the perfect moment for me to come to the UK for the 2024–25 batch. The new rule is making me reconsider. Vinu, who is considering moving to the US, stated, "If my partner can't come, I won't go either."
The new requirements "could be a detriment for students coming to the UK," said University of Greenwich PhD student Aakash Mishra."It might damage the UK’s reputation as a convenient location for many,” Askash continued.
But the UK still attracts students
Joyce Isaac, a study abroad consultant with Providence Education Advisory in Mumbai, agrees: "There may be a drop initially, but the UK still offers one of the best study destinations, so it will remain popular with students who wish to get the right exposure."
Joyce says Indian students don't suffer because most UK students are young and single.
However, married people can bring their dependents to research or PHD studies because they are likely career-mature. Joyce continued, "Regular students can take their families after graduating and starting work."