Fact Check: Has The UK Suspended Study, Work Visas For Nigerians?

On Tuesday, March 15, 2021, the UK government shared its recent decision to prioritize applications made under the Ukraine Family Scheme, in response to the humanitarian crisis arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Shortly after the announcement, several misleading headlines pushed the narrative of a total suspension of study, work and immigration visas for countries like Nigeria, China and others, triggering public displeasure, especially in Nigeria which is a major beneficiary of the UK immigration schemes.

For instance, in 2021, the UK issued about 18,580 visas to Nigerians in 9 months, while 428,428 sponsored study visas were awarded to both international students and their dependents from Nigeria.

Suspension Of Study/Work Visas Fact Checked

In the official statement posted on the UK Visas and Immigration official website, the UK disclosed the temporary suspension of priority and super-priority services for new study, work, and family applications. However, the statement added that applicants with standard application services for study, work, and family routes may experience some delays in the processing of their applications. What does this mean?

This means that only priority and super-priority services for visa applications have been suspended. On the other hand, the standard service would still be available but would take a longer period of time to process.

Priority and Super-Priority Services

The UK Visas and Immigration offers three main services to fast track visa processing time to the UK, two of which are the Priority (Premium) and the Super-priority (Express) services.

For 500 pounds, priority service applicants would get a visa decision within 5 days of submitting necessary documents, while super-priority applicants who pay 800 pounds would get their visa decision by the next working day.

Standard applications usually take 8 weeks to 6 months, depending on the application type, according to the UK Visas and Immigration.

UK Study and Visa Issuance Statistics

Nigeria is a major priority market in terms of human talents. According to official data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the top five countries studying in UK’s universities for its 2020/21 academic session are China, India, Nigeria, the US and Hong Kong with 143, 820, 84,555, 21,305, 19,220 and 16,655 respectively.

In terms of visas issued to the UK, Nigeria recorded a rise of 234.7 percent in the first nine months of 2021, with 18,580 visas issued from 5,551 visas issued in 2019.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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