STEPHEN Flynn has joined the voices condemning Prime Minister Rishi Sunak after his “bleak” first post on Twitter/X in 2024.

The Tory leader had written on the social media site to highlight a new immigration rule which will prevent foreign students at UK universities from bringing their families with them to the country.

Sharing a post from the Home Office, Sunak wrote: “From today, the majority of foreign university students cannot bring family members to the UK.

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

The Home Office had said: “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 rule change was widely attacked, with claims that it would make the UK a less attractive place for foreign students to study.

Cambridge University professor emeritus Sir Richard Evans wrote: “This is so short-sighted and arrogant. It affects, above all, international graduate students in their mid to late 20s, many with families.

“Research-intensive universities depend heavily on them for income since they can charge economic fees for them, unlike for undergraduates.”

Former British diplomat Alexandra Hall Hall, who resigned in 2019 saying she would no longer “peddle half-truths” on behalf of political leaders she did not “trust”, also condemned the message.

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“How is deterring bright people willing to pay a lot of money for a British education ‘delivering for the British people?’” she wrote.

“All it will do is impoverish our universities, weaken our soft power, and make our society less open or attractive.”

Colin Talbot, an emeritus professor of government at Manchester University, commented: “Here’s the Prime Minister celebrating undermining one of our biggest export successes – higher education – being undermined by his own Government.

“And all just because they insist in counting temporary residents (students and their families) as migrants. Bonkers.”

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University of Glasgow professor Alison Phipps quipped: “And in the latest instalment of 100 ways to wreck a country …”

Joining the expert voices, SNP Westminster leader Flynn (below) wrote: “A New Year but the same old Tories.

“When will these folk finally be honest about the enormous economic and social benefits of migration?

“Bleak. Backwards. Broken. Britain.”

The National: SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn speaking in the House of Commons

Sunak has made cutting migration one of the core pillars of his policy agenda. In the year ending September 2023, 152,980 visas were issued to dependants of students.

In November, the Official for National Statistics revised up previous figures, saying that 745,000 more people had arrived in the UK in 2022 than left.

Home Secretary James Cleverly has said the “unreasonable practice” of overseas students bringing their family to the UK will be ended.

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The Home Secretary said the ban, which affects all but those enrolling on postgraduate research courses and ones with Government-funded scholarships, will cut migration by tens of thousands.

Cleverly said: “This Government is delivering on its commitment to the British public to cut migration. We have set out a tough plan to rapidly bring numbers down, control our borders and prevent people from manipulating our immigration system, which will come into force throughout this year.

“Today, a major part of that plan comes into effect, ending the unreasonable practice of overseas students bringing their family members to the UK. This will see migration falling rapidly by the tens of thousands and contribute to our overall strategy to prevent 300,000 people from coming to the UK.”