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Set back for Bahrain residents as UK disallow students from bringing family

TDT | Manama    

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Reported by Zahra Ayaz

Bahrain residents, ambitious about pursuing their higher education, are taken aback by the UK government’s decision to henceforth allow visas for the dependents of postgraduate (PG) students.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced earlier that foreign postgraduate students on non-research courses will no longer be able to bring family members to the UK under new immigration curbs.

The change will take effect in January 2024 and will make a significant difference for people in Bahrain. However, the impact it will have on official migration levels is unclear since students and family members who come to the UK for less than a year are not counted.

The Daily Tribune observed that although many residents are worried about this new rule being implemented by the UK government, Bahraini students are not being negatively impacted, and a growing number of Bahrainis are attending higher education institutions in the UK.

Mr. Ebhrahim Ahmed Abdulrasool Abdulla Albaqali, Managing Director at Education Links, told The Daily Tribune, "During the past few years, we have seen a substantial number of Bahrainis study overseas, which has had a major impact on Bahrain’s economy as well."

" Since Bahraini students often enrol in undergraduate programmes, and those who enrol in graduate programmes do not want to settle in the UK, the new rule will not have a major effect on Bahraini students.

"Bahrainis who obtain higher degrees return to Bahrain in search of better employment possibilities, contributing significantly to the country’s future," he said. He further added, "I believe many residents will be impacted, and it’s because they’re moving abroad with the intention of settling down there."

The number of Bahraini students going for higher studies is higher than that of expats, and the reason is that these expats are not aware of the consultant agencies that reside in the Kingdom. " Although Bahrain is a small country, it has 17 universities, and the majority of these universities do provide UK-associated degrees for Bahraini students.

Mr. Ebhrahim noted that this is also one more reason why the new law will not affect Bahrainis. "If we look at the figures, last year, 135,788 visas were granted to dependents of foreign students, nearly nine times the 2019 figure. The UK government believes that this decision will assist in reducing immigration," he added.