For a long time, the United Kingdom was the most popular destination for Nigerian students to study at their universities. However, the U.K.’s recent policy to ban foreign students from bringing their families into the country has created an opportunity for Nigerian students interested in studying abroad to look at other countries.
In a statement on May 23, the British government said the new restriction will come into effect for students starting in January 2024. This is to allow potential international students to plan.
“The UK is a top destination for the brightest students to learn at some of the world’s best universities. But we have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of student dependents being brought into the country with visas,” Suella Braverman, the U.K.’s Home Secretary said in the statement.
This policy is bad news for Nigerian students. But there is hope. Instead of criticising the British government, why not look at other top destinations that offer top-quality tertiary education to students?
Read this article to find out.
Top 10 countries that allow foreign students to bring their families
Ireland is a European country that is considered to have some of the best universities in the world. There are plenty of scholarship programs available to European Union (EU) and non-EU students. The country also offers a dependent visa for international students.
So, if you are considering bringing dependents while you are studying, you have no cause to worry.
ALSO READ: Cheapest countries you can migrate to from Nigeria
Brazil may not be considered a top study destination for Nigerian students, but the country allows family immigration. You will also be allowed to combine your studies with a job. Also, your spouse can work. The country has a rich culture that you will enjoy. After all, all work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
8. United States of America
According to a report by Arise TV, Nigeria is ranked highest among African countries with the number of students in the United States of America. A statement by the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria stated that in 2020/2021, the North American country remained the top destination for international students, welcoming over 914,000 international students from over 200 places of origin.
The statement also revealed that Nigerians are enrolled in more than 1,000 institutions in the United States, while students using EducationUSA Nigeria services recorded $28 million in scholarships and financial aid awarded to those admitted for the 2021 academic year.
An international student may travel to the United States with their spouse or dependents. However, the student’s spouse has to apply for their F-2 or J2 visas together while the student applies for an F-1 or J-1 visa or they can apply for their F-2 or J-2 visas.
J-2 dependents are granted work in the US after they are given the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card. The EAD has a 12-month validity period and can be extended once a year.
Estonia is a small country by the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. Despite its size, the country is a popular destination for international students. Its universities have various professional programmes, offering more than 150 degrees. Apart from the low cost of tuition and living, Estonia boasts of incredible scenery, stunning architecture and offers a high-quality experience. Yes, you can bring your family as a foreign student.
Denmark is another European country that has a friendly immigration policy for foreign students. As an international student who wants to bring in family, you are required to apply for the country’s green card Dependent visa. The Danish green card allows the holder to bring their family with them while they are living and working there. Denmark is an English-speaking country and offers the highest wage for part-time jobs which can be up to 20 euro/hour.
ALSO READ: Top 10 countries Nigerians must not travel to
The World Happiness Report in 2023 ranked Finland as the happiest country in the world for the sixth consecutive time. According to an overseas education consultant, Edugo Abroad, the country has the world’s leading higher education universities which provide top English-taught bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.
“These institutions provide several scholarship programmes. In Finland, you can move with your spouse as their immigration rules are very flexible and favourable in the student’s interest,” Abroad said.
The Finnish immigration service revealed that the country issued more residence permits in 2022 than the previous year as its processing time for visa application was 77 days on average. This is about 46 per cent less compared to 143 days in the previous period. You can also receive a work-related permit into the country within a month of application.
4. New Zealand
The New Zealand work permit under the Skilled Migrant Category will allow you to live, work and study in the country. You are allowed to bring in your partner and your dependent children aged 24 and under. According to the New Zealand government, the visa policy is based on a points system that factors in multiple elements considered to be employability and settlement indicators. New Zealand also has a dependent child student visa that allows a dependent child to join their parents in the country and study at a primary or secondary school.
Australia is becoming one of the top destinations for Nigerian students. Like Canada and Germany, Australia is attracting skilled immigrants. Australia ranked third as the number of students rose to 2,372 in 2022 from 1,928 in the previous year. The country has a dependent visa programme that allows international students to bring their spouses and families to the country.
In April 2023, the Australian government proposed overhauling its immigration system to speed up getting highly skilled workers into the country and make getting permanent residency easier.
Germany’s Skilled Immigration Act has made migration to the country easier for skilled workers, especially from non-European countries since 2020. The country has been struggling with a shortage of skilled workers and enacted the Act as a solution. The government is still making efforts to scrap numerous bureaucratic procedures and introduce policies that will attract skilled workers from developing countries.
Germany’s dependent visa, also known as a family reunion visa, permits the spouse, children and other family members to join and live with their family members who are already living in the country. The dependent visa is either temporary or permanent.
Germany has a top-notch education system, work opportunities and a great economy. The healthcare system is also rated highly.
Canada has one of the most developed economies in the world. The country has welcomed over 460,000 new immigrants each year to strengthen the economy, reunite families, and help refugees. Under its immigration plans, Canada seeks to have 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025.
The country’s dependent visa allows international students to bring their families. It also allows them to work or study full-time once they have the relevant permits. Spouses of students shall be eligible for an open work permit. However, the permit is only valid for the same period as the student’s study permit.
According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Nigeria ranks fifth in Canada’s top 10 international students market as the number of study permits for Nigeria rose by 17.8 per cent to 16.19 per cent in 2022, the highest on record from 13,745 in 2021.
ALSO READ: Top 5 countries that have no airports