New UK immigration rules for international students: the country tightened visa requirements

United Kingdom


New UK immigration rules for international students: the country tightened visa requirements

The UK is changing the procedure for issuing student visas for foreigners planning to study in the country. Find out more about the changes in visa processing for families of foreign students and why the UK is updating its immigration legislation

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In recent years, the flow of immigrants to Great Britain has increased dramatically. A significant percentage of the arrivals are students. According to the legislation of Great Britain, foreigners who go to the country to study have the right to move with their family. In 2022, 135,000 visas were issued to family members of foreign students. This is 9 times more than in 2019.

UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman called the rise "unprecedented" and said "it's time to make immigration harder for family members of students to reduce the overall number of migrants".

On May 23, 2023, the Home Office of Great Britain announced that it plans to change the procedure for issuing student visas. On July 17, the UK government approved the proposed changes. Some of them have already entered into force.

What will change for families of international students? What other innovations await the student visa procedure? Details in our article.

Why did the UK change its immigration laws?

In recent years, the number of migrants in Great Britain has increased dramatically. Applicants from different countries of the world, mostly from China, India and Nigeria, go to study in the United Kingdom. British education is considered one of the best in the world. The diploma provides an opportunity to get a job in a large international company and allows you to become a specialist in any field.

However, there have been cases of foreigners obtaining a British student visa for illegal immigration as a fraudulent way to move and find work in the UK, including an increase in marriages of convenience.

The amendments to the legislation are designed to reduce the number of immigrants in the country and combat illegal migration.

New UK immigration rules for international students

● Transfer to a work visa before completion of studies is prohibited - changes for current students that have already taken effect

Many foreign students studying in the UK at some stage find work and change their student visa to a Skilled Worker - a sponsored visa for highly skilled workers.

Under the new changes, from July 17, 2023, students transitioning to work visas must wait until they have successfully completed their studies. That is, in the sponsorship certificate of employment, which is a mandatory document for obtaining a Skilled Worker visa, the date of completion of the course must precede the date of start of work. From now on, it is forbidden to work until the completion of studies.

Also, if a student obtains a PhD in Great Britain, under the old rules he was allowed to issue a work visa after 12 months of study. Now, from July 17, 2023, the term has been extended to 24 months.

When planning to move abroad to study, be sure to take care of reliable insurance for foreign students. The policy meets all the requirements for a student visa, provides you with medical care and guarantees peace of mind.

● Changes in the visa procedure for dependent family members of a foreign student

From 1 January 2024, international students will not be able to move to the UK with their family. From now on, the husband/wife and children of a foreign student will need to issue separate visas. Only one exception to the new rule was made - for students of research programs and postgraduate students.

Previously, undergraduate and graduate students, going to study in Great Britain, could take their wives and children with them. Family members did not need to collect a complete package of documents separately, the visa was issued based on the connection with the "main" applicant (a foreigner applying for a student visa to Great Britain). From now on, family members of a foreign student will have to find personal reasons for immigrating to Great Britain.

Family members of international students already in the UK will be able to extend their stay under the old rules.

The opinion of representatives of the government of Great Britain

The decision to change the immigration rules for foreign students caused a mixed reaction. Some representatives of the country's government believe that the new restrictions will help reduce "clean" migration, as well as stop cases of using a student visa as a bypass to work in Great Britain.

At the same time, Education Minister Gillian Keegan claims that family members who "accompany" students bring economic benefits to the country. The conservative party believes that including foreigners studying at universities in the total number of migrants is "madness"

“They [foreign students] bring enthusiasm and curiosity to the life of the country, and leave with language, skills and affection. Meanwhile, they pay us a lot of money and often support themselves. So what are the disadvantages?”

Keith Malthouse

Member of the conservative party

How will the changes affect students?

International students starting their studies this September are allowed to come to the UK with their families. Also, families already living in Britain will have the right to extend their visa.

The changes will only affect spouses and children of students applying for a visa after January 1, 2024.

It is prohibited to switch to work visas until the successful completion of studies as of July 17, 2023. The changes apply to all international students in the UK.

Great Britain is the best place to study for talented students. Undoubtedly, changes in immigration policy will significantly affect the procedure for obtaining a visa. However, it is still possible to get a higher education in the United Kingdom. In order to facilitate the procedure of obtaining a student visa, to find out which of the foreign students will have the right to move to Great Britain with their family, and under what rules it will be necessary to obtain a visa from now on, we advise you to consult a highly qualified education lawyer.

Igor Usyk - Head of Legal Department at Visit World

For safe relocation to UK, obtaining refugee status and employment, use the advice of an international lawyer.

We help to solve complex and simple issues for your comfort and safety in the UK.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in the UK;

Legal advice on immigration to the UK;

Travel insurance for foreigners in the UK;

Medical insurance all over the world.

We monitor the accuracy and relevance of our information. Therefore, if you see any error or discrepancy, please write to our hotline.

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