Last month, the British government announced a new visa restriction that bans foreign students, including Nigeria from bringing their families into the country.
BusinessDay reported earlier that the restriction which takes effect next year, created an opportunity to look at other countries which are welcoming international students with families.
“Students with families from Nigeria will most likely apply to go study in Canada, Germany, France, Finland or Australia from next year,” @OgbeniDipo tweeted via his twitter handle.
He said only single people will probably pick the UK as first choice and the student numbers coming to the UK will reduce.
Within a period of one year, the number of the dependants of Nigerian students in the UK more than doubled, according to the British government.
Africa’s biggest economy had the highest number of dependants of sponsored study visa holders which rose by 146.1 percent to 66,796 in the year ending March 2023 from 27,137 in the year ending March 2022.
“Indian nationals had the second highest number of dependants, increasing from 22,598 to 42,381. In the year ending March 2023, around 73 percent of visas issued to dependants of students were issued to two nationalities (Indians and Nigerians),” it said.
Dependents are usually spouses, common-law partners, children, parents, or legal guardians. A dependent visa, usually called a family visa, is a legal document issued for family reunification purposes in a foreign country. They are usually long-term, and the qualification requirements can change based on which family member is sponsoring the person.
And if a person who resides in a foreign country wants to bring his or her family, he or she must have a residence permit having a validity period of at least one or two years, be at least 18 years old, have sufficient financial support and living space for himself or herself and the family members.
The requirements are a family visa application form, six-month valid passport, passport pictures, proof of relationship, marriage certificate and a certificate of registration (for registered partnerships), according to Visa Guide World, an online information guide to worldwide visas
Others are proof of cohabitation (joint bank accounts, rental agreements, etc.), shared child custody, police certificate, proof of accommodation, biometric details, paid visa fee (if required), health insurance and medical report.
“Family visa fees may go from $160 to $1,500. The fees will vary depending on the visa type and the additional administrative costs. And the processing time takes between one to two years to finish processing,” it said.
It said some countries like Australia may allow you to stay in the country while your visa is being processed but that it depends on the type of family visa.“Your family visa is usually issued for the same duration as your partner’s initial visa—between five and 10 years— then if your partner qualifies for citizenship, so do you,” it said.
Here are further details of some countries that offer family visas
Family reunification is one of the pillars of the country’s immigration system. According to the Canadian government, the family class is the second largest category of newcomers welcomed by the country under its Immigration Levels Plan.
In 2023, it hopes to welcome 106,500 newcomers under the family class category, with 78,000 under the spouses, partners and children category and 28,500 under the parents and grandparents category. By 2025, Canada aims to welcome 118,000 newcomers through family class immigration.
Canada’s family class sponsorship program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor a person to join you in Canada and become a permanent resident.
“This program, one of the most popular streams of Canadian immigration, makes it easy for citizens and permanent residents to bring their spouse and immediate family members to Canada with reduced processing times because Canada knows that family should never be put on hold,” Canadinm, a Canadian immigration law firm said.
It said a person may be eligible to sponsor your spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner for Canadian permanent residence, whether they are living in Canada with a valid temporary visa or residing abroad.
“Applicants who are living in Canada may also qualify for an open work permit, giving couples the chance to relieve some of their financial burdens.”
The country recently launched new measures to expedite the approval of family reunification applications.
The measurements are faster Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) processing times for spousal applicants and new and dedicated processing tools for spousal TRV applicants.
A new open work permit for spousal and family class applicants and open work permit extensions for open work permit holders expiring between August 1st and the end of 2023.
“Family members from visa-required countries who have submitted family class Permanent Residency applications can apply for TRV to join their sponsor in Canada,” Sean Fraser, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship,” said.
Germany’s family reunion visa was established by the immigration authorities for the purposes of family reunion. Apart from the required documents listed above, the sponsor’s spouse needs to have basic knowledge of the German language.
Children who are under the age of 16 can join their parents without the need to fulfill any requirements, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com, an European Union passport-free zone that covers most European countries.
“Those aged 16-18 must not be married and must speak fluent German in order to be granted a family reunion visa,” it said.
Spouses or partners that want to get a Denmark Family Visa must both be at least 24 years old and both meet the integration requirement.
There are different integration requirements that both partners must meet, based on education, work experience and language skills.
“Both partners must meet four of the six requirements (three apply to each partner). These integration requirements are detailed more under requirements for the applicant and requirements for the spouse/partner in Denmark,” Visa Guide World said.
It said a dependent child (under 18) can join a parent in Denmark with a family visa.
This country has two partnership visas such as work visa and residence visa. According to New Zealand immigration concepts, an immigration adviser, the work visa can be obtained after a short time living together in a relationship.
“This kind of visa allows you to live and work in New Zealand with no restrictions, however the length of the visa will depend on how long you have lived together,” it said.
It said the resident visa can be obtained after 12 months living together (in most cases). “Immigration New Zealand can grant the non-resident applicant and any dependent children the opportunity to live indefinitely in the country. This can pave the way to a New Zealand permanent residency.”
According to Jeduka.com, an online education portal for international education, the international student studying towards a level seven or higher qualification on the Long Term Skill Shortage List, or postgraduate qualification in New Zealand can bring their spouse along with them with the help of a Partner of a Student Work Visa.