Rule changes in UK Student visa: Everything You Need to Know

  • No changes to Post Study Work Visa
  • Students can no longer switch from a study visa to a work visa before completing their course.
  • Only international students on courses designated as research programs will be permitted to take family members as dependents.

As immigration is marked at an all-time high in the UK and net migration crossed the level of half million, Rishi Sunak Government has announced some policy changes in Student rules to restrict the student migration flow to UK.

According to data of The Office for National Statistics, net migration was over 500,000 from June 2021 to June 2022 up from 269,000 in 2019. The Net migration is defined as the difference between the number of immigrants who are coming to country and the number of emigrants who are leaving the country for different purposes. Last year the number of dependents of international students increased by 750% since 2019, to 136,000 people, an eightfold increase from 2019, when 16,000 were provided. The number of international student visas granted by the UK Government increased by 81% from 2019 to 2022. This move comes as official statistics are expected to confirm that net migration will rise to more than 700,000 this year.

These announced changes will come into effect from January 2024 onwards to reduce the net migration while protecting the economic benefits which foreign students bring to the United Kingdom.

Restricting dependents

As per the proposal released in UK Parliament last week, the international students will not be allowed to take family members with them as dependents while they are studying in the UK – unless they are studying in postgraduate research courses (e.g., research-based PhDs and research-based master’s programs). So international postgraduate students of non-research courses will lose the right to bring family to the UK. In another hand, it’s analyzed that UK Government is trying to ensure the brightest and best students can continue to bring dependents when they study at the UK’s world-leading universities.

Not only undergraduate international students and non-research postgraduate students but also one year master’s degree students will be prevented from bringing their dependents while they are studying in the UK. Especially Indian and African students who are looking for one year post graduation based on affordability and less timing, will be affected by this role in large number.

In 2022, the number of issued dependent visa of international students has been marked the total growth of 750% since 2019. This single biggest tightening measure has been introduced by the UK Government to reduce immigration to the UK.

No changes to Post Study Work Visa

Graduate Route will not be affected at this stage. So international undergraduate and post-graduate students will get two years’ stay back and doctoral/PhD students will get three years’ stay backs based on their course completion. This decision keeps the UK as one of the best study destinations for study abroad aspirants.

Switching to skilled Worker Route restricted until completion of program.

International students in the UK will not be permitted to switch to the Skilled Worker Visa until they complete their program. This change has been introduced to prevent misuse of the visa system and to avoid non genuine international students who are determined to do work in the UK rather than study.

After some months of speculation and rumor, it’s very clear that Graduate Route will remain same as before. As most students are between 19th and 24th of age, this change in the dependent visa will not be going to impact a larger level for international students who are planning to study in the UK. At the same time, the UK Government ensures their commitments towards their International Education Strategy and their target to attract more students to the UK. As visa policy has changed, it’s better to get more clarity and detailed information before planning to study abroad program in the UK.

Contact us