Changes to UK’s immigration do not include a ban on Nigerian students

·3 min read

When the United Kingdom announced restrictions preventing student visa holders from bringing family members into the country, social media posts began claiming that all Nigerian students are now banned.  Many of these posts claimed that this purported ban came after a Nigerian YouTuber gave an interview to the BBC in which he made comments about Nigerians seeking degrees in the UK that some perceived as derogatory. However, these claims are false: the UK limited the cases in which international students - of any nationality - can bring family into the country. There is no immigration ban targeting Nigerian students.

“This is the Nigerian guy that granted the interview that has made the Uk government ban Nigerian students. Na black dey do black (sic),” reads a tweet posted on May 23, 2023.

<span>A screenshot of the false tweet, taken on May 25, 2023 </span>
A screenshot of the false tweet, taken on May 25, 2023

The phrase “Na black dey do black” is used in Nigeria to say that other Black people cause the problems Black people face.

Nigerian YouTuber Emdee Tiamiyu gave an interview (archived here) with the BBC in which he claimed some Nigerians seek a degree in the UK to immigrate and do not care about their studies.

“We’re beginning to see that a lot of people just hide behind the studentship. So the student thing is not real, it’s not like they need the degrees,” he said in the interview.

Tiamiyu’s comments sparked a heated discussion (archived here) on social media, with some people accusing him of maligning Nigeria and making threats against him.

The same claim also circulated in other tweets and on TikTok.

While the United Kingdom recently announced changes to its immigration system, the claim that the country banned Nigerian students is false.

UK immigration changes

On May 23, 2023, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced restrictions to bring immigration down, specifically targeting international students (archived here).

“The immigration statistics … highlighted an unexpected rise in the number of dependents coming to the UK alongside international students,” reads the statement.

A statement from the Home Office said that in 2022 “almost half a million student visas were issued while the number of dependents of overseas students has increased by 750% since 2019, to 136,000 people” (archived here).

The Home Office implemented several changes to reduce that number, including “removing the right for international students to bring dependents unless they are on postgraduate courses currently designated as research programmes.”

<span>A screenshot from the UK Parliament’s site detailing the new immigration measures, taken on May 25, 2023 </span>
A screenshot from the UK Parliament’s site detailing the new immigration measures, taken on May 25, 2023

The UK issued more than 44,000 student visas to Nigerians (archived here) in the 2021/2022 academic year.

Nigeria had the highest number of dependents (archived here) of student visa holders in 2022, with 60,923.

However, the announcement does not include a ban on Nigerian students nor does it make specific mention of any one nationality.

AFP Fact Check contacted the Home Office to verify that Nigerian students are not banned from the UK.

“No, it’s not at all about just Nigerian students. Obviously, what they’re alleging on social media, that’s not correct,” said the Home Office.

“It’s a restriction for everyone bringing in dependents.”