According to official figures released in November, the country saw a net migration of half a million people between June 2021 and June 2022. The new figures are due out this week and are eagerly awaited as Tory governments promise to cut immigration after Brexit without success. While prestigious British universities attract many expats at high prices, the government says in a press release that the new restrictions on student visas will “significantly reduce net migration by reducing the opportunity for international students to bring family members”. The measures, which will come into effect in January, concern all students “except postgraduates”. Additionally, foreign students cannot switch from a student visa to a work visa before completing their studies. The government vows to crack down on “unscrupulous agents” who use student visas as a migration route. In 2022, about 136,000 visas were issued to dependents of foreign students, up from 16,000 in 2019, according to government figures. Suella Braverman, the rightful interior minister, ruled in a press release that the new measures represented a “fair balance” and would allow the migrant balance to return to pre-Covid levels in the “medium term”. By 2022, a record 45,000 migrants will cross the Channel illegally to reach the UK. “Stop the boats” is one of Rishi Sunak’s five priorities. At the same time, post-Brexit, the United Kingdom faces labor shortages in many sectors. (Belga)
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