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France Imposes Immigration Restrictions On International Students

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France has implemented new legislation imposing immigration restrictions on international students, including Nigerians, preventing them from bringing their families to the country, News About Nigeria reports.

The measure, which was approved by the French parliament on Friday, is a major tightening of the country’s immigration laws, making it more difficult for immigrants to reunite with family members already in France and delaying their access to welfare benefits.

Among the contentious measures in the law is a ban on detaining minors in detention centres, while leaders of a third of French regions have declared their non-compliance with certain aspects of the legislation.

This new immigration policy is in line with similar actions taken by the UK.

In May, the UK restricted the number of dependents allowed for international students, which had an effect on Nigerian students and reduced their opportunities to study overseas.

The UK’s decision was a result of a spike in net migration that reached one million people, prompting Conservative Members of Parliament to demand immediate action to regain control over immigration statistics.

Nigerian students, who have made major contributions to the international student population in the UK, started looking into other European countries, like France.

However, the options available to Nigerian students have decreased due to recent revisions in the UK’s skilled worker visa rules and new legislation in France.

In the UK, changes were made to the skilled worker visa in December.

James Cleverly, the new Home Secretary, increased the minimum wage requirement from £26,000 to £38,700, which is more than the current median salary of a full-time worker in Britain.

Workers in health and social care were exempt but could not bring family members with them, and abroad carers were restricted from bringing spouses and kids, along with a 66 percent increase in the NHS fee.

Another popular country for overseas students, Canada, has also announced regulations that require students to provide proof of funds above $10,000, to the tune of ₦16,050,000.0000 ($20,000).

The new rule will go into effect in January 2024 and requires a single applicant to provide proof of their ability to pay for tuition and travel expenses.

Although the 20-hour work week cap for international students was waived by the Canadian government until April 30, 2024, the combined effects of these changes in immigration laws in France, the UK, and Canada are changing the environment for Nigerian students looking to pursue higher education abroad.

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