The United Kingdom, renowned for its top-notch universities and deep-rooted academic legacy, has always attracted students worldwide. Changes in the UK’s student visa rules have kept pace with evolving societal demands and political landscapes. These alterations impact students aspiring to study in the UK, shaping their academic journeys. Recent updates in visa regulations have sparked interest and discussions among prospective students. Understanding these changes becomes crucial for those planning to pursue education in the UK. So, in this blog, ‘Recent Student Visa Changes in the UK’, we’ll discuss some of the changes every student should be aware of. Let’s delve into the latest shifts in student visa policies, exploring how they affect aspiring scholars and the broader educational landscape in the UK with our Study In UK Consultants.
UK Student Visa New Rules 2024
This article will discuss the upcoming changes to immigration laws and their possible impact on international students and universities in the United Kingdom. International Students need to be kept up to date with developments at the Home Office in preparation for this transition.
Two of the main new rules include
- Changes to Immigration Rules for Dependents of International Students
- Restriction on Switching to Work Visas for Student Visa Holders
Let’s discuss them in detail.
- Bringing Dependent
For years, students studying in the UK could bring their family, like their spouse or kids, along with them. It was helpful, especially for older students or those doing advanced studies, as it meant having family support during their studies.
But starting from January 1, 2024, there will be new strict rules about this. The government announced changes on July 17, 2023, saying that students coming to study in the UK can’t bring their families unless they’re doing postgraduate research or a specific higher education program. This is part of the government’s plan to lower the number of people moving to the UK from other countries.
However, If you will be studying a postgraduate research program, you can bring your dependents with you to the UK. A postgraduate research program includes:
A doctorate e.g. PhD, D.Eng, or another research-based doctorate :
- A research-based higher degree including some master’s programmes
- It should be longer than 9 months and the student must be government-sponsored.
If you are already in the UK with your family on a course that began before 1 January 2024, these changes will not apply to you and your family can continue living with you until your visa expires. You can also live with them in the United Kingdom until your visa has expired if you started a course in September 2023 and brought your family along.
The UK has seen a lot more people moving in over the years. The government believes that by making rules stricter about bringing family, they can control the number of people coming in and make the country more economically stable.
By making the rules tougher, the UK wants to make sure that people who come here for studies are mainly focused on their studies. This way, they hope to handle the number of people moving in more effectively.
- Switching to Work Visas
Before, students studying in the UK could switch from studying to working there. But things have changed now. You have to finish your studies first before even thinking about getting a work visa.
In the past, students could change from their study visas to work visas if they got a job offer and met the requirements for a skilled worker visa. This was a way to encourage smart students to stay in the UK and help its economy after they finished studying.
However, these new changes mean that students can’t switch from study visas to work visas until they finish their studies. Those doing courses at degree level or higher will only have a short time to apply for work visas that need a sponsor, and the job must start when their course ends.
The main reason behind this change is the government wants students from other countries to focus more on their studies. By having these rules, the UK government hopes students will concentrate on their education, making the academic standards better.
The aim is to find a balance – letting students get work experience in the UK but making sure they focus mainly on why they came to the UK to study.
Which Family Members Can You Bring with You?
There are also certain restrictions on which family members can accompany you to the UK if you have done a research program in the UK
According to the rules, student visa holders doing postgraduate programs can only bring
- Their civil partner or spouse
- Their long-term unmarried partner
- If their child is under the age of 18, they are not living independently.
- If your child is under the age of 18 but is married or living alone and working, they are not permitted to accompany you to the United Kingdom.
Keep in mind that you will need to submit the evidence of your relationship with each of the family members you bring you with to prove who are you to each other to the Home office as well. You must also show that you have lived with your partner for at least two years prior to your application.
Photographs, cards, internet messages, and travel tickets do not qualify as valid evidence; instead, you must present official documents with both of your names on them, such as a combined bank statement, a utility bill, or a housing contract.
How We Can Help
Navigating the evolving UK immigration rules for students can be confusing. As the Best Study Abroad Consultants In Kerala, we specialize in UK immigration for students and aim to assist you every step of the way. Understanding visa rules, the impact on family members, or moving from a student visa to a work visa can be daunting, but our team is here to make it easier for you. We simplify the process, ensuring you’re prepared and informed for your studies in the UK. So, trust us as your partners to guide you through these changes and support your academic journey.