international student visa

Rishi Sunak called ‘evil’ for boasting about new changes to international student visa rules

‘First day of the year gleefully announcing splitting up families is crazy to me’

So, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has decided to kick off 2024 by boasting about “delivering” for the British people by effectively splitting up families of international students and people are rightfully livid about it.

This week, a new change to international student visa rules means that international students living in the UK will no longer be allowed to bring their family members to the UK.

Last year, 136,000 visas were issued to the dependants of foreign students – up from 16,000 in 2019. Government ministers say the policy will see around 140,000 fewer people come to the UK each year.

In a tweet on New Year’s Day, Rishi Sunak said: “From today, the majority of foreign university students cannot bring family members to the UK. In 2024, we’re already delivering for the British people.” The policy is part of Sunak’s plan to cut down the number of immigrants coming to Britain.

But international students, who contribute their huge fees and skills to this country are not the problem, and splitting up families is not something we should be bragging about.

International students boost the UK economy by £41.9 billion each year

On average, fees from international students generate over £41 billion for the UK economy every year, not to mention how international student fees make up the majority of the income of each UK university.

This means that by prohibiting international students from bringing their families to the UK while they study, the government is also reducing the number of international students who decide to study in the UK in the first place.

But all this achieves is just international students choosing to give their tuition fees elsewhere and in turn, crippling UK universities.

The £40 billion international students contribute is over 40 times the value of the UK fishing industry, nearly three times the value of the UK car industry, and 20 times the value of the UK steel industry. To completely lose this would be the end of universities as we know them.

Boasting about splitting up families is quite frankly disgusting

For the very first tweet of 2024 from our Prime Minister to be boasting about ripping apart families is just vile behavior. How is demonising international students and their families who come to this country to study and offer their skills and expertise to the UK “delivering”?

By changing the international student visa rules, all that has been delivered here is ruining the lives of international students. The reduction in the number of international students will only mean a hike in tuition fees for home students, which will, of course, hugely deter people from working-class backgrounds from attending university.

Sir Richard Evans, an Emeritus professor at The University of Cambridge said: “This is so short-sighted and arrogant. It affects, above all, international graduate students in their mid to late 20s, many with families. Research-intensive universities depend heavily on them for income since they can charge economic fees for them, unlike for undergraduates.”

Another person on Twitter added: “This policy will significantly damage the funding of UK universities as international students go elsewhere. That means that a generation of Britons will pay more to go to college and university and that it will become the preserve of the rich.”

Boasting about “delivering” utter misery for international students as well as the destruction of UK universities is an abhorrent way to start 2024 and just continues to fuel the utter hatred that sums up the UK right now.

If you have been/will be affected by these new changes to international student visas or feel strongly about this, please get in touch by emailing [email protected] in confidence. 

The UK Government Office has been contacted for comment. 

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Featured image before edits via Canva.