UK immigration lawyer discloses how Nigerians can ‘japa’ with family

UK-based immigration lawyer Femi Aina has revealed the steps involved in allowing Nigerians to relocate their families to the country.

Concurrently, on January 1st, the UK Home Office announced that it had begun implementing its policy that forbids overseas students—including those from Nigeria—from bringing in dependents using study visas.

The Home Office reiterated in a post on X that the move will only not affect students on government-sponsored scholarships or those engaged in postgraduate study.

“We are fully committed to seeing a decisive cut in migration. From today, new overseas students will no longer be able to bring family members to the UK.

Postgraduate research or government-funded scholarships students will be exempt,” the Home Office said.

The immigration lawyer revealed that Nigerians who wish to bring their family to the UK may want to look into other options.

Aina advises potential immigrants to think about their options outside of travelling as a skilled worker or student.

According to him, some Nigerians would think about using the investor path instead of the other when travelling with dependents.

According to Aina, those who have family members who are citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) might think about applying for a family permit so they can move to the UK with their loved ones.

“Applicants should consider an alternative route to migrate than going as a student or skilled worker. Those planning to go need to consider how long they want to be separated from their family.

“Some can consider the investor route as an alternative, some may consider a family permit if they have a family member who is an EEA national,” he said.

Aina disagreed with claims that the ban might be targeted at Nigerians who have been deserting the nation in droves because of the japa syndrome, saying it was for political reasons aimed at keeping the Conservatives in power.

“I won’t say it was targeted at Nigerians because, under the Equality Act 2010, it is against the law to discriminate against people on the basis of nationality. I will say it was done for political reasons so that the Conservatives will remain in power.

“Because the indigenous population is concerned about migrants influx, which is having a negative effect on resources. So, if action is not taken, the Conservative will lose the next election,” he stated.

Aina expressed concern that many Nigerians would be affected by the policy “because they will not be able to bring in their dependants,” saying the worst was that families would be separated.

“For instance, a wife in the UK, husband and children in Nigeria. If care is not taken, allegations of infidelity will surface, which will lead to family separation.

“Under international law, nations are under obligation to promote family life. The UK government’s new immigration law has an implication on family life. The UK government is aware; that is why they said that they will consider exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis,” he said.