Nigerians planning to apply for a student visa to study in the UK should be prepared for stricter immigration restrictions as the Home Secretary, Theresa May, is looking to increase the amount a student is required to have in savings on arrival, according to a BBC report.
In a leaked confidential letter to other ministers, she argues that universities should “develop sustainable funding models that are not so dependent on international students”.
The Home Office refuses to comment on leaked documents.
Student migration is a significant political problem for the government, which has a target of reducing net immigration to below 100,000 people per year.
Earlier this week, immigration minister James Brokenshire announced a tightening of immigration rules relating to non-EU students in further education.
The government is some way off its immigration targets. At the last estimate, so-called “net migration” was running at 318,000 in the 12 months to December 2014. That was caused by gross immigration of 641,000 and gross emigration of 323,000. According to the International Passenger Survey, a total of 193,000 people came to the UK in 2014 for “formal study”.
Theresa May’s letter – a so-called Cabinet “write-round” sent between ministers – argues that students should be required to demonstrate a higher degree of financial backing as a condition for receipt of a higher education visa than is currently required. At the moment, they must demonstrate they have as much support as a British student could expect to receive from official sources.
The document also proposes that postgraduates’ dependents should be prevented from doing less-skilled work. This element of the letter, reported earlier this week by The Times, would affect up to 20,000 people who have visas as the dependents of students in the past year – as well as their student partners and families.
The concerns about “sustainable funding models that are not so dependent on international students” was in the context of worry about the multiplication of London “satellite campuses” for universities based elsewhere in the UK.
The letter says they have “quadrupled” in number in recent years. An official report published earlier this year believed that there were 13 of them.