• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Nigerians at risk of deportation in UK’s Braverman push for visa change

International students studying in the United Kingdom (UK) including Nigerians may face deportation after completion of their studies.

According to The Daily Mail, Suella Braverman, UK’s home secretary is pushing for a visa change that would force foreign students out of the UK if they fail to secure a ‘skilled job’ six months after graduation.

“Braverman has committed to cut immigration and ‘substantially reduce’ the number of unskilled foreign workers coming to Britain, from 239,000 to the ‘tens of thousands,'” it said.

It said she wants to reduce the number of international students who can apply for a graduate post-study work visa, which allows any student who has passed their degree to remain and work in the UK for at least two years.

The British newspaper added that education officials fear this will make the UK less attractive to foreign students, who pay far more than UK students for their courses and are a major source of income for universities.

For Nigerians, this poses a risk for them as the UK has become a top immigration destination for greener pastures.

Data from the British government data shows the number of student visas issued to Nigerians rose by 38.5 percent to 50,960 in 2022 over the previous year, the highest in four years.

And, the number of Nigerians issued skilled work visas grew by 15 percent to 8,646 in September 2022.

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A recent report by SBM Intelligence said Nigerian students and their dependents contributed an estimated sum of £1.93 billion to the UK in 2021.

@ogbeniDipo tweeted via his Twitter handle that international students add around £25 billion annually to the UK economy.

“Don’t return to the era of unwelcoming, draconian, and hostile immigration policies. Let them have their Post Study Work visas for two years. Don’t jettison the Post Study Work visa for graduates,” he tweeted.

Nigeria’s large, cheap labour and also intelligent minds make it an attractive destination for the UK which is currently battling with an aging population and a large skills gap.

In 2019, the UK updated its International Education Strategy. The update reaffirms the government’s goals of increasing the value of its education exports to £35 billion ($48 billion) and hosting at least 600,000 international students per year by 2030.

The strategy commits to previously established goals for foreign enrolment growth which have been replaced by new immigration routes and work opportunities for foreign students. It intends to create clearer pathways to immigration.

Some of how this growth is to be achieved are the Graduate route which was launched in July 2021. The route will allow eligible students to stay in the UK to work or look for work, for two years (three years if studying at PhD level) after they have completed a degree in the UK.

Others are High Potential Individual visas, Global talent visas, and Scale-up visas.

This is not the first time that Braverman has been considering tightening immigration rules.

In October last year, before she was forced to resign, she told The Telegraph that there were too many students coming into the UK and they needed to be cut down.

“There are structural pressures that mass and rapid migration poses to our country,” she said.

She was reinstated six days later by Truss’s successor as Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.