International Students: UKVI sets intention to curb dependents from joining their partners

New restrictions to student visa routes announced

On the 23rd of May 2023, the UK government announced new restrictions to student visa routes in their aim to cut net migration. The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman said the new restrictions had been due to an unprecedented rise in the number of student dependents being brought into the country with visas.

Figures show there were 135,788 visas granted to dependants last year, a rise from 54,486 in 2021, and more than seven times the 19,139 granted in 2020.

What the new student visa restrictions include

  1. Removing the right for international students to bring their dependants unless they are on postgraduate research programmes.
  2. Removing the option for international students to switch out of the student route into work routes before they have completed their course.
  3. Reviewing the funds students must have to demonstrate they can look after themselves and their dependants in the UK.
  4. Introducing steps to clamp down on education agents who may be supporting applications to sell immigration not education.
  5. Improving the communication of immigration rules to the higher education sector and to international students.
  6. Improved and more targeted enforcement activity.

It’s estimated that new changes will come into force in January 2024.

UKVI and Higher Education Sector

The government announced that it will continue to work with the higher education sector to explore alternative options to ensure the brightest and best students can continue to bring dependents when they study at the UK’s world-leading universities.

The government has also made clear that the terms of the graduate route remain unchanged, which allows foreign students to stay in the UK for two years after graduating to look for jobs.

Contact Us

If you would like more information on the UK student graduate visa route, please get in touch with us.


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