How Long Can Uk Enforce Its Rules Against Students From Nigeria, Others?


By Olabisi Deji-folutile

When the Home Office of the United Kingdom in January this year announced the implementation of its policy banning Nigerian students and other overseas students from bringing in dependants via the study visa route, it was unclear to me how long the UK would be able to enforce this harsh rule 

From the standpoint of the European country, it seems foreign students suddenly descended on the UK and made it their chosen destination for education pursuit without being offered any prior enticement to do so. But clearly, that is not the case.  The UK in 2019 deliberately and intentionally solicited the patronage of these foreign students especially those from Nigeria, India and Pakistan to boost foreign enrolment in its universities—the same set of people it is trying to shut out now. It did that to attract funds that would strengthen the survival of its threatened universities.

Between 2012 and 2017, the UK witnessed a 27 per cent drop in international students from Nigeria as Nigerians looked towards Canada, Malaysia, Ghana and the rest for their education due to the UK’s policy of not granting post-graduate stay for its foreign students. Having lost potential students and in its bid to attract them,  it launched an International Education Strategy in 2019  which was revised in 2021. This strategy placed Nigeria as one of five other high-priority countries where it focused its recruitment efforts, funding and new immigration routes.

The UK wilfully opened up its borders as much as possible to international students including Nigerians in October 2020 when it introduced a new student visa rule that created clearer pathways for students.  It intentionally created a visa route that allowed students to bring in their family members along with them as dependents and also allowed students to stay back after they studied for two years.  

competition for them to be stiff.  Many universities outside the UK are offering huge scholarships to attract these students. So, these brightest students may not offer the succour that the shortfall from shutting out the majority of students would create in the UK system.

Maybe it is also high time the UK realised that many of its international students are aware that they are paying far more for education than they could probably get at a very huge discount in their countries for a reason. And that reason goes far beyond the UK being tagged a great destination for good and quality education. 

There are so many universities in the world creating such an image in their marketing approach. Nigerians for example have their reasons for choosing the UK above some countries.

These could range from proximity to language, etc. However, the UK government thought that a Nigerian student would spend over 20,000 pounds in tuition for a one-year course without having in mind what to gain from its system is unreasonable and unpragmatic.


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