Number of Nigerian students in UK jumps 686%, blame ASUU

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Nigerian students

The number of Nigerian students in the United Kingdom has jumped 686 per cent, becoming the third largest foreign student group after India and China.

The phenomenal rise came after the pandemic, despite the high rate of foreign exchange.

The trigger may have been the protracted strike since February by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The Mail Online, quoting Home Office figures reported that 65,929 Nigerians were granted a sponsored study visa in the year ending June 2022.

This is a rise of 57,545 (686 per cent) compared to 2019, when 8,384 were given.

Overall, international student numbers have risen by 71 per cent over that period, with 486,868 student visas granted to main applicants and their dependents in the year up to June – 202,147 more than 2019.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘[This] is the highest on record in our time series, with the substantial increase representing both a recovery from lower numbers during the Covid-19 pandemic but also an increase on the pre-pandemic period.’

There were 117,965 grants to Indian nationals this year, an increase of 215 per cent compared to 2019.

Chinese nationals were the second most common nationality with 115,056 visas granted, albeit 4 per cent lower than 2019.

Non-Russell group universities now make up 56 per cent of all CAS used in study visa applications. This is the highest proportion of Non-Russell group CAS seen since the Sponsorship time series began in 2010.

Unlike fees for home students, which are capped at £9,250, international scholars now pay almost three times that amount – an average of £24,000.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: ‘It’s good that our universities take students from all around the world.

‘But it’s important that we keep recruitment from abroad within bounds so British universities are fully developing British talent.

‘Since overseas students pay higher fees, there is always the risk that this benefit will outweigh the importance of developing British talent.’

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