UK dependant visa changes: Impact on International students

Have you heard? There are significant changes happening in the UK with the dependant visa. In 2019 alone, the percentage of dependant visas linked to international students increased by 750%. That’s a significant increase, and in response the UK government has announced major reform and changes.

As this is pivotal for many study abroad aspirants with partners or children who plan on studying in the UK, we have summarised the update here. But you don’t have to figure it out yourself, the first step would be to talk to an expert at Gradstar. Book a one-on-one co design appointment with us today to get all of your questions answered!

What are the recent revisions regarding the UK Dependent Visa?

Recently, the UK government has revised the rules regarding the UK dependent visa that will be in force from January 2024.

  • The rules restrict international students coming to the UK from bringing along their dependents/family members on their student visas.
  • This doesn’t apply to those who wish to pursue research postgraduate programs.
  • International students can no longer transition from a student visa to a Graduate visa (Skilled Worker Visa) before their course is completed. This step aims to keep the integrity of the visa system intact and eliminate unauthorized employment.
  • The core reason behind this new policy change is to cut the net immigration to the UK and eliminate the use of student visas as an alternative route to work in the UK.
  • Braverman, Home Secretary of the UK, said that this revision aims to safeguard the UK’s public services best while contributing to the economy by welcoming students who have the potential to add larger value to the UK’s educational landscape and beyond.
  • Students who do have dependents will need proof that they have the financial capacity to take care of themselves and their dependents.

Note: There have been no new changes in the two-year Graduate work visa.

Have some more questions regarding the revisions? You may find your answer here!

Impact on International Students

This new change in the UK dependant visas has brought a drastic shift in students’ plans and put them in emotional turmoil. Let’s explore the impact and it’s depth –

1. Emotional effects

With the introduction of this new policy, it will significantly impact on postgraduate students who have families due to separation. This will majorly affect children, spouses, and parents, who have not been separated from the student before.

Learnwhat to do if you are feeling homesick or culture shock while studying abroad.

2. Mandatory to stay on a student visa to course completion

Students no longer have the option of changing their visa status while studying and must stay on a student visa until they have completed their course. Once studying is completed they can shift to a Graduate work visa. This will ensure that students genuinely interested in studying in the UK get the chance instead of places being taken by students whose major driver is to work.

  • According to the Economic Times reports, international students shifted to work visas to get employed faster and cheaply.
  • The other employment alternative is the Graduate visa route, allowing you to work in the UK for 2 years or 3 years for PhD students.
  • According to the recent change, you can only have dependents included on your graduate visa if they have been in the UK on the dependent visa prior to Jan 2024.

3. Eligibility for the Graduate visa

  • a UK bachelor’s degree
  • a UK master’s degree
  • a UK PhD or doctorate

Graduate visa: The course you studied – GOV.UK

4. Access to new opportunities

With this change, international students will naturally explore new opportunities and opt for out-of-the-box university courses at different destinations.

  • Different countries welcoming international students are developing new opportunities to attract talented international students.
  • For instance, Australia has introduced student-friendly policies like the Australian Temporary Graduate visa. This allows recently graduated international students (with relevant qualifications that Australia needs) to live, study, and work in Australia.

How to be prepared for the visa revisions?

Here are the best 5 tips that study abroad aspirants should follow to tackle this change –

  • Stay updated on the latest developments in immigration policies, as it’s crucial to inform your study abroad and longer term plans.
  • Choose your study abroad destination according to your priorities and goals. Want to tag family along? Choose countries with favourable dependent visa rules.
  • Research and explore different study abroad destinations to find the one that provides top-notch education and better opportunities for dependants.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact education consultants to get customized guidance considering your interests, goals, and budget. You can simply turn to our best study abroad experts at Gradstar to choose a perfect study abroad destination, university, and course.
  • Leverage your fellow international student’s experience and insights to make decisions, as they would be faced with similar policy changes or challenges. Gradstar can help you here too with its strong alumni network.

Wrapping Up

Feeling overwhelmed with this new change and unable to determine what destination or course to choose? Our finest study-abroad experts at Gradstar Global Education are here to guide you. We help you select the study abroad destination and course based on your preferences, interests, and budget.

Our comprehensive services include accommodation assistance, financing and foreign exchange, health cover, pre-departure assistance, visa and travel, and English language test preparation. We can’t wait to have you on board and work towards achieving your study abroad dream, so book a private appointment today!

Recommended Reads:

What to expect when studying abroad in the UK?

Visas and other paperwork needed to study abroad

Top tips to get accepted into the best universities in the UK

Date Published: Sep-21-2023

Our Dream Makers are expert listeners, educators, career consultants and student supporters. They co-design your study abroad experience with you to empower you to reach for the stars. Because dreams deserve a helping hand.

About the author

This blog was written by Gradstar Global Education.