Rishi Sunak roasted for ‘pathetic’ boast on banning overseas students’ family members coming to UK

"Sunak is boasting about separating families? Shameful”

Rishi Sunak

The Prime Minister has faced a barrage of criticism after boasting about a policy to ban overseas students from bringing their family members to the UK, which came into effect on New Year’s Day.

Making the new rules announcement on Monday, Rishi Sunak wrote on X that, “From today, the majority of foreign university students cannot bring family members to the UK.”

He added: “In 2024, we’re already delivering for the British people”.

However his start to the year boast for the Tories was met with disgust online, as one X user responded, “imagine bragging about this. Embarrassing.” With politicians across the spectrum expressing their criticism at the rule change.

Editor Ben Smoke replied: “Making life more difficult or painful for a relatively small number of people whilst living standards for all continue to plummet, welfare and health systems collapse, housing crisis spirals etc isn’t delivering for the British people, it’s just being spiteful.”

As part of the government’s plans to reduce legal migration, the new policy means international students starting courses this year will no longer be able to bring dependants to the UK, except for postgraduate research or government-funded scholarship students.

Leader of the University and College Union Jo Grady blasted the policy as “disgusting and divisive.”

“They are not delivering for anyone. They are demonising international students in the hope this can keep Sunak on his perch a little longer,” said Grady.

MP Diane Abbott said: “Sunak is boasting about separating families? Shameful”

While former Tory MP Anna Soubry called Rishi Sunak’s tweet “pathetic”.

Soubry wrote on X: “What a pathetic tweet from the PM on New Years Day when we are hoping for a brighter, better future. The majority of overseas students leave their families (mum,dad,siblings) at home but hey let’s blow a nasty nationalist dog whistle to shore up a dwindling vote. Shame on you Rishi Sunak.”

Others pointed to a recent report on the contribution of international students in the UK, finding a net benefit of £37.4 billion for the UK economy, which factors in the costs to host them and their dependents.

One university professor went on to slam the policy as “cruel” and “desperate”, highlighting the positive contributions international students have made to the education system and country.

Professor Jamie Woodward said: “International students make a huge contribution to the UK economy and to the intellectual and cultural richness of our world class universities. They also help fill a huge funding gap! This policy is both cruel and stupid. Desperate stuff.”

“Congratulations on overseeing the demise of the University sector – the Conservatives have ruined almost every other service in the country – not many left to target now,” wrote another X user.

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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