To beat the ban, one couple had a "contract" marriage
Indian students are racing to bring dependants to the UK ahead of a ban in January 2024.
Education agents are charging students inflated prices to secure places at universities before the deadline for banning dependants from coming to the UK comes into effect on January 1.
In one case, a couple paid £30,000 to secure a student visa and a dependant’s visa to travel to the UK together.
Amid a rise in students bringing forward their UK plans, some universities opened up applications in November and December.
In May 2023, Rishi Sunak announced a crackdown on Indian students bringing their dependants to the UK unless they were on research programmes.
When it comes to study-related visas for dependants, they almost doubled from 80,846 in the year ending June 2022 to 154,063 in June 2023, accounting for 24% of all sponsored study-related visas.
This comes ahead of the upcoming migration figures which are expected to show net migration is around 500,000.
This is five times higher than David Cameron’s vow to bring that figure below 100,000.
Students represent around 40% of all visas.
To beat the ban, one couple had a “contract” marriage, where the man agreed to pay for his wife’s university education.
In return, she sponsored his dependant visa so he could work in the UK.
He did not have the required academic or language qualifications to enter the UK as a student and ended up paying £30,000 for her tuition and other fees.
Another student, Rinku Sharma, originally intended to enrol at a UK university in late 2024.
But the upcoming ban prompted him to bring his plans forward.
Rinku paid the agent £11,000 for his admission as well as a dependant visa for his wife.
He told The Telegraph: “It is a one-time investment.
“Once we get a degree from the UK and work experience, we have a great future both in the UK and back in India.”
Visa consultancies advertise exclusive opportunities for Indian students to enrol in UK universities in November and December.
Sahil Bhatia, the head of Punjab’s Om Visa, revealed he was receiving 30 to 40 spouse applications a day.
In a social media post promoting his business, he said:
“The student can take their spouses and children along.
“Hurry up and grab the opportunity to get admission in the university with limited seats before the January ban is implemented.”
It is reported that the universities admitting students in November and December were BPP in London, Birmingham and Bedfordshire.
According to sources at BPP, the number of postgraduate students had doubled compared to last year.