The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery, has named scarce housing services and the need to manage visitors in the United Kingdom as some of the reasons for the restriction on students bringing dependents to the country.
Montgomery also said his country is ready to back Nigeria’s economic reforms to ensure success.
He stated this Wednesday while briefing State House Journalists after meeting with Vice President Kashim Shettima, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, applauded Nigeria’s ongoing economic reforms, which he described as the best for the country.
The British High Commissioner stated that discussions were around long standing partnership between the UK and Nigeria, adding that “ We have many areas of shared interest, including a good history of development and cooperation.
“We have excellent trade and investment arrangements and we have also have some good cooperation on security and defence.
“As many of you were seeing from recent talks, we also had good talks on home affairs and justice and we have great people-to-people links in the areas of education, health, and we also discussed a number of issues to do with on how we can improve our relationships in the future.
Montgomery singled out the recent removal of fuel subsidy and the exchange rate reform, which he said, has created a much better investment environment.
He said: “I think we already have a good economic dialogue, but I think there is a great potential to do more.
“As I discussed with His Excellency, the big economic decisions being taken by this government are really important and are being noticed around the world.
“I was in London last week; I was briefing my ministers, but I was also talking to British businessmen in the areas of finance, banking and investment sectors.
“They are all responding very positively to these first decisions. We know that there are tough times that are going on at the moment, inflation and unemployment.”
He stated that “ the vice president and I also touched on some of the measures that might be possible to cushion the effect of some of these economic pressures.
“But I think the big issue is that these reforms help put Nigeria on a higher growth path; they will attract more investments and the United Kingdom and the city of London see Nigeria as a big opportunity going forward.
According to him, “ I will be doing my part to try to boost those, enhance trade and investment.
Also speaking on the issues of Students Visa and restrictions on dependent, the UK High Commissioner stated that the issue was not tabled during the discussions, but added that UK granted Students Visa to 325,000 Nigerian students last year
“Last year for example, the UK granted 3 million new visas of which 325,000 of those visas were between Nigeria and UK.
“So, Nigerian visitors constitute over 10 per cent of the people coming to London and the UK.
“On the issue of students’ visas, I will also like to provide the context; that the number of Nigerian students coming to the UK has increases fivefold in the last three years; it is a fantastic success story for our universities and we are really delighted that so many Nigerians are coming to the UK.
“The issue about restrictions of people bringing dependents; that is not just for Nigeria but many parts of the world.
“ Many more students are trying to bring their dependents with them; and I think there are two issues here; the first is –it is not always possible to find housing services to meet all the needs of all our existing students population.
“ Secondly, I think reasonable people will accept that we have to manage our visitor numbers and that we have to manage migration in and out of the UK; just as the Nigerian government does for your own borders”.