UK Dependent Visa UK Dependent Visa


UK Home Office Investigating the Dramatic Rise in Dependent Visas

United Kingdom
#immigration #dependents

According to recent reports, the home secretary is going to analyze the number of dependents reaching the UK with overseas students on a UK dependent visa and there is an expected review in immigration laws. The number of dependents dramatically increased to fivefold in a single year requiring a proper analysis of the reasons.

At the end of the year (June 2022), 486,868 student visas were provided, including the dependants, which is quite a number as compared to the 2019 survey. The number of visas in 2022 is more than 71% than a full year before the pandemic.

According to the statistics of the home office, out of 486,868 visas, 81,089 visas belonged to the dependants of sponsored overseas students. This number is five times the number in 2019 which is quite surprising. Home secretary, Suella Braverman, is analysing the situation and dependant's data that is a part of an upcoming review of immigration laws to bring down the figure.



Upon inquiry by The PIE, about the authenticity of this report, the spokesperson of the home office confirmed that in the upcoming weeks, the government will give a plan for the immigration system that will ensure growth by keeping a check on the number of dependent visas. But no in-depth details were revealed about the international students coming on UK study visa and their dependents. 

2022 Growth Plan

A reference was pointed to the 2022 growth plan that was presented to the parliament by Kwasi Kwarteng (exchequer chancellor) stating that the migration of skilled and highly skilled individuals plays a prime role in the economic growth of a country and leaves a positive impact on the productivity and innovation of country.

So, migration rules will be reviewed by keeping this growth plan into consideration. More the skilled people avail the UK dependent visas, the more it will boost the economy and growth of the country instead of unskilled dependants getting UK visas.  

Expected Benefits of Immigration Review

No matter how developed a country is, the more it has unskilled individuals depending upon the country, it ultimately affects the growth rate. Keeping this point into consideration, the 2022 Growth Plan was presented to parliament. The spokesperson further declared that there is a reshaping of immigration policies to maintain the balance between people coming on UK-dependent visas and the skills that the UK needs.



The more there are skilled dependants enter the UK, the more it will boost the economy and growth without putting extra economic pressure on the government. The following points highlighted the importance of immigration review:

  • The government is committed to ensuring that immigration policies help businesses encourage highly skilled individuals and also to choose the businesses with accelerated growth rates for locating and investing in the UK.  
  • For accelerated growth in the immigration system, various visa routes are to be introduced, including the Global Talent Visa, scaled-up worker visa, high potential individual visa (for the graduates of top-ranked universities in the world), and global business mobility visas.

Government Statistics About Dependants

A previous analysis by the Home Office acknowledged the fact that the students coming to the UK on study visas bring relatively fewer dependants (83% of visas issued to the main applicant and about 1/6th grants to a dependant. While in comparison to it, those coming on work visas brought more dependants with 2/3rd grants to the main applicants and 1/3rd to dependants. 



In 2021 (September), UUKI & HEPI published a report, providing a detailed analysis showing the admirable contribution of international students to the economic prosperity of the UK. The report stated that “every part of the UK is financially better off - on average by £390/person - because of international students. According to this research, international students offer a net economic benefit of £2.9 billion.

However, as there is a dramatic rise in the number of UK dependent visas, so UK Home Office is investigating the issue. According to the figures presented by The Telegraph, there is the highest number of dependents brought by Indian and Nigerian students.

Nigerian students:  According to the information, 34,000 Nigerian students brought 31,898 dependants

Indian students: The UK visa information about dependants shows that  93,100 Indians brought 24,91 dependants on dependant visas to the UK. 

Libyan students: Contrary to the Indian and Nigerian dependants, the number of dependants brought by Libyan students was more than the students. 272 overseas students brought 455 dependants which is quite surprising. 

According to government statistics, between March 2021 to March 2022, there was an abrupt rise in the visas for dependents of skilled workers (37,764 to 72,554) in addition to the sponsored study visas granted to dependants ranging from 23,765 to 72,554.

Different views about a review of immigration policies

Simon Marginson, the University of Oxford’s professor of higher education and the director of ESRC/RE Centre for global higher education told The PIE that;

“Sometimes government rhetoric is totally unreal in terms of real lives in a real society” and “the tabloids would love stories on international student dependants getting a free ride from the taxpayer. The fact that international students pay massive fees, and students and their families pour money into the economy, would not trouble them”

While talking about the number of student visas granted, he said “Why anyone would want to reduce their number escapes me” and “how reducing number fosters growth, or not detract from growth, also escapes me” 

Marginson asked the government to pith the humanist vote rather than the bigotry vote for change. However, he discouraged the older international students with partners and dependants from applying for UK study visas.



While Arrowsmith, acting director of Universities UK International added to this context that dependant visas are a recognised part of the immigration system and anyone who enters the UK using this route is subjected to the UK Immigration rules and has to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, going towards funding the NHS.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a dependent visa to be approved?

If you are applying for a visa to get settled in the UK as a partner or family member of a British immigrant or British citizen, you should get the UK visa within 24 weeks after attending the appointment at the visa application centre.

Does a UK-dependent visa get rejected?

  • There is a chance of dependent visa rejection if;
  • You don't fill out the application properly. 
  • Documents are not submitted in the right format
  • Documents aren't submitted in the right place

Is it easy to get a job on a dependent visa in the UK?

There is no specific kind of job offered to those who are there on UK-dependent visas. You can work freely in the UK doing whatever job you find.



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