UK restricts study visas

New rules to take effect in January 2024

The UK government has announced massive changes to the student visa route, that will come into effect next year.

International students in the UK will no longer be allowed to bring dependants on their student visa unless they are studying a postgraduate research program. This aims to prevent people from using student status as a method to migrate to the UK together with their family members.

The ONS estimated that net migration in 2022 was over 500,000.  Almost half a million student visas were issued while the number of dependants of overseas students has increased by 750% since 2019, to 136,000 people.

A restriction will apply to the working permits as well. International students will no longer be able to switch to a work visa before they have completed their course.

The government will also review the funds students must have to demonstrate they can look after themselves and their dependants in the UK.

The reform will not affect the two-year post-study work visa Graduate Visa,  and the UK will still remain committed to its target of hosting 600,000 international students studying in the UK per year by 2030.

The government will however work with the higher education sector to explore alternative options to ensure the brightest and best students can continue to bring dependents when they study at the UK’s world-leading universities.

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