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Nigel Farage slams ‘absolutely batty’ immigration rule which has caused arrivals to soar | Politics | News

Nigel Farage has slammed an “absolutely batty” immigration rule that has caused arrivals to “explode” but has been completely legal.

The former UK Independence Party and Brexit Party leader has long raised concerns about the growing number of people coming to this country legally, heaping further pressure on public services.

Net migration – the difference between those leaving and new arrivals – hit a record high of 745,000 in 2022, with analysts blaming a surge in health and social care visas.

However, speaking on his GB News show on Tuesday, Mr Farage highlighted what he sees as one of the big contributors to the soaring legal migration figure.

He said it was “staggering” that out of 460,000 sponsored study visas granted by the UK in 2023, 144,000 dependents of students were also approved for entry.

“Students come with dependents – yes, I know it sounds completely batty but that’s what we allow,” he said.

“And that’s something like the number of student visas 70 percent higher than 2019, under this Government.

“They argue it’s a good thing, good for our economy.”

He went on to say that the percentage of students with study visas granted leave to remain in Britain had tripled between 2019 and 2023, from 18 percent to 56 percent.

He described the rise as “really, really is annoying”.

Forget the boats for a minute – legal net migration in this country has simply exploded,” he added.

The Government has recently changed the immigration rules to prevent students from bringing dependents when attending UK universities.

The Tories believe this will greatly reduce the net migration figure. Professor Brian Bell, the Government’s chief migration adviser, even believes there is a “fighting chance” Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, could slash net migration to as low as 150,000.

However, Mr Farage – now the honorary president of Reform UK – said even if the figures come down: “Why the hell were they allowing this in the first place?

“It seems to me like many of our universities have become absolutely drunk on foreign money, be it grants from China or foreign students – and I wonder whether this is all to the benefit of British students going on to further education.

“I think we should slash the numbers. Also, we should be careful about who we allow in, and just coming as a student should not give you automatic leave to remain.”

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