On Monday, the United Kingdom implemented strict requirements for African students who wish to study in Britain. The same day, it also announced visa-free access for citizens from seven Arab countries.

This development comes as the UK government, grappling with a record surge in migration levels, granted visa-free access to seven Arab countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain.

Effective from Monday, Kenyan students seeking education opportunities in the UK will encounter heightened entry requirements.

According to a statement released by the UK government, citizens from the aforementioned Arab nations will only need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) for entry, streamlining the process for short stays without the need for a traditional visa.

The ETA, an electronic travel permit designed for visitors not requiring a visa, has been introduced as part of Home Secretary James Cleverly’s comprehensive five-point plan to address the escalating migration levels, which he deems “far too high.”

In a move that will curtail the movement of Africans to the UK, the minimum salary requirement for skilled overseas workers has been substantially raised from £26,200 to £38,700.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak emphasised the government’s commitment to a decisive cut in migration, noting, “We are fully committed to seeing a decisive cut in migration.”

Moreover, as part of these stringent measures, new overseas students entering the UK from January 1 onward will no longer have the option to bring family members with them, a policy shift underscored by Mr Sunak as the government’s proactive stance on migration reduction.

Highlighting the impact of these changes, Mr Cleverly revealed that approximately 300,000 individuals who would have been eligible to enter the UK in the past year would no longer meet the revised criteria.

gandae@businessdayafrica.org