LONDON, England: As part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's measures to bring down annual net migration, which reached a record last year, international students will be prevented from bringing family members into the country.
The interior ministry said the new measures, which target post-graduate students except those in research programs, will help reduce migration "substantially" and stop people from using student visas as a backdoor route to find work in Britain.
"We have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of student dependents being brought into the country with visas," interior minister Suella Braverman said in a statement.
"This is the fair thing to do, to allow us to better protect our public services, while supporting the economy by allowing the students who contribute the most to keep coming here."
Current rules allow postgraduate students studying courses lasting nine months or longer to bring partners and children to Britain, but the government said the number of dependents had jumped eightfold since 2019, to 136,000 people last year.
Britain will also remove the ability for international students to switch out of the student visa into work visas before their studies have been completed, the interior ministry said.
Student visas accounted for the largest proportion of migration to the UK, with 486,000 issued last year, it added.