In 2023, the UK government announced essential UK student visa changes. These modifications were implemented on July 17, 2023. The primary focus of these changes revolves around two critical aspects: dependent visas for family members and the ability to switch from a student visa to a work visa. 

If you are planning to come to the UK for studies, you might be interested in knowing all these UK student visa changes. Therefore, we will shed light on these changes in this blog post. We will also delve into how these alterations might impact international students and their families.

Understanding UK Student Visa Changes 2023:

The British government has made these changes to the following two key elements:

Dependent Visas for Family Members

One of the major changes to the UK student visa revolves around the eligibility of dependent visas for members of the immediate family of overseas students. the permitted number of dependent visa applications that can be filed alongside applications for student visas on July 17, 2023. This move is aimed at lowering net UK migration figures. Numerous groups have expressed their disapproval of the effects of this policy change, including immigration lawyers, academic institutions, and even some UK companies. International students are also not satisfied with this decision because they may encounter difficulties as a result of this shift, especially those who want to bring their close family members (such as partners and young children) with them.

Switching from a Student Visa to a Work Visa

Another significant change impacts students’ ability to switch from a student visa to a work visa. The new regulations state that those who are in the UK on a student visa are not eligible to move to another visa category until they have finished their studies. However, as long as the employment start date doesn’t come before the course completion date, students taking degree-level or above courses may apply before their course completion to switch to sponsored work pathways. The government also has a specific time period for PHD students, after which they can change their student visa to a work visa. After 24 months of education, PhD students can apply for a work visa.

The Rationale Behind the Rush

The rationale behind the government decision regarding UK student visa changes is obvious. The UK government wanted to reduce the migration figures. However, these adjustments are notable for how quickly they were put into place. Normal implementation of changes to immigration laws would occur at least 21 days after they were introduced to Parliament.

In this case, the UK government decided to forgo this customary period, citing the need to avoid a surge of dependent visa applications and reduce the number of student visa switch applications before a specified cut-off date.

The UK economy may be negatively impacted by a probable decline in the enrollment of overseas students, which is cause for concern. Through their tuition payments, international students make a considerable contribution to the UK economy.

Effect on Currently Enrolled International Students and Dependents

It’s essential to note that these UK student visa changes do not impact individuals who are already in the UK on dependent visas, provided the main visa applicant remains on a valid student visa. They can continue to reside in the UK and even apply to extend their dependent visas.

Looking Ahead: Changes from January 2024

Prospective international students must be aware of both the currentUK student visa changes and those that will be implemented in January 2024, in addition to the ones already in place. Starting from this date, international students studying in the UK will only be permitted to bring dependents with them on their student visas if they are engaged in a postgraduate research course. Furthermore, unless they have successfully completed their degree, international students will no longer be able to transition to work visas.

How Can These Changes Be Favourable for International Students?

The UK student visa changes can also have positive impacts on international students.Students will be able to focus on their academic goals without worrying about the responsibilities of expatriates in a foreign country. They can fully pay attention to their education. Likewise, the inability to transition from student visas to work visas ensures that students are equipped with the necessary expertise required in the workforce. This could lead to higher academic performance as students are incentivized to complete their programmes before seeking employment opportunities.

How StudyWise Can Assist You?

The UK student visa changes have generated a mix of concerns and opportunities for international students. As with any significant policy shift, it’s imperative for affected individuals to seek timely immigration legal advice. Whether you’re a current international student or planning to embark on your academic journey in the UK, staying informed and proactive is key to a smooth visa application process.

Our expert consultants at Studywise will provide you with free consultations regarding the whole project. Under our guidance, we ensure that you not only stay informed about all the relevant policies, but we also work tirelessly to ensure your visa application is a success.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: According to these UK student visa changes, Is it possible for my spouse to transition to a skilled worker visa prior to the completion of my course?

Yes, under the current immigration rules, this is allowed.

Q2: I plan to defer my course to January 2024. Will I be able to take my dependents?

 Unfortunately, if you defer your offer, you will be subject to the new rules, and bringing dependents will not be permitted.

Q3: Can I work part-time on my student visa after January 2024?

Yes, there are no planned changes to the current rule allowing overseas students to work 20 hours per week during semester time, along with an unlimited number of hours during designated summer vacations.

Q4: Can postgraduate students bring their dependents after 2024?

Starting in January 2024, international students pursuing postgraduate studies will only be permitted to bring dependents if they are enrolled in a postgraduate research programme. This means that other postgraduate students will no longer be able to bring their families to the UK.