We recently brought you news about the changes the Home Office are making to the UK Student Visa. Well, the Home Office have now surprised us all by implementing some of these changes with immediate effect!


Understandably, overseas students in the UK may be anxious about what this will mean for them, as well as when the changes will take effect. Let’s take a look at the student visa aspect of the Statement of Changes to the immigration rules, how they might impact you, and when they come into effect.


Changes to student visa rules around dependents


The good news for those who have already brought their dependents with them on a student visa is that these changes will not impact them. Dependents already in the UK continue to be able to extend their leave.


However, students who start courses after January 2024 will now only be able to bring dependents with them if they are studying a research-based postgraduate degree, a PHD or other doctoral qualification, or if they are government sponsored. As a result, those who are due to start their courses in the autumn of 2023, as many are, will not be affected by the changes to bringing dependents.


Changes to switching from student visa to other types of visas


The other major change to the student visa comes in the form of restricting students from switching to a work visa before their studies have been completed. This change is officially in force from now, following an announcement in the latest Home Office Statement of Changes.


As of 15:00 on 17th July 2023, students will no longer be able to switch out of the student route into work routes before their studies have been completed. However, it is worth pointing out that students on courses at degree level or above will be able to apply to switch to sponsored work routes as long as their course finishes before their employment start date. In addition to this, PHD students will be able to switch after 24 months of study.


Usually, the convention is that changes take effect 21 days after the Home Office presents new rules before Parliament, however this particular change departs from that convention. The Home Office’s justification for this is that the changes were initially announced on 23rd May, and that sufficient notice has therefore been given.


Additionally, the Home Office does not wish for there to be a surge in applications for switching to be made in the 21 day period between the changes being presented before Parliament and when they come into effect.


These changes are bound to have a major impact on overseas students already in the UK, however their true impact will probably only be felt in the years to come in terms of whether they bring down the number of overseas students in the UK.


We will cover the remaining changes outlined in the latest Statement of Changes in a later article. For now though, if you have any questions about the changes to the Student Visa route, please do not hesitate to contact us. As previously mentioned, for those starting a course in Autumn 2023, you will still be able to bring dependents with you on a student visa. Get in touch with us today, we would be delighted to help you.


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