Updates to the UK Student Visa Regulations For Dependents 2024
UK Student Visa Regulations For Dependents - Triospace Overseas

Updates to the UK Student Visa Regulations For Dependents 2024

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced significant changes on May 23, 2023, aimed at reducing net migration while fulfilling the International Education Strategy’s goal of increasing international student numbers in UK higher education.

Announcement Confirmation:

Confirmed in the government’s Statement of Changes on July 17, 2023, the amendments outline adjustments to UK student visa applications, dependent rights, and transitioning to work visas. These changes apply to students who applied after 3 pm on July 17, 2023, for courses starting on or after January 1, 2024.

Which Students Are Still Allowed to Bring Dependents?

According to the latest regulations, only specific categories of students are eligible to bring dependants to the UK if they commence their studies on or after January 1, 2024. These include:

Government-sponsored students enrolled in courses lasting over 6 months.

Full-time students pursuing postgraduate level courses (RQF level 7 or higher) lasting 9 months or more. The sponsoring institution must demonstrate a ‘track record of compliance’, as indicated on the register of sponsors. Qualifying postgraduate level courses encompass:

  • PhD or doctorate degrees (RFQ Level 8).
  • Research-based higher degrees.

How can I prepare to Study in UK for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree?

In light of recent revisions, students pursuing non-research-based Master’s degrees can no longer sponsor dependants under the UK Student Visa route. Previously, all Master’s degree students were eligible to bring dependants, given that a Master’s degree holds RFQ Level 7 status. However, applicants after January 1, 2024, are now required to demonstrate that their course is ‘research-based’.

Regarding undergraduate studies, only Bachelor students enrolled in government-sponsored programs lasting at least 6 months retain the privilege to bring dependants to the UK. This maintains continuity with previous regulations. For a comprehensive overview of prior Student dependant rules and guidance for those enrolled before January 1, 2024,

What is meant by a “Higher Degree Based on Research”?

In the Immigration Rules, a ‘research-based degree’ is defined as “a postgraduate program comprising a research component (including a requirement to produce original work) that is larger than any accompanying taught component when measured by student effort.” In simpler terms, it refers to courses that prioritize student research over taught study.

When applying for a UK Student Visa, obtaining a ‘Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies’ (CAS) is mandatory. This electronic record, produced by the sponsoring university, serves to verify your enrollment with the Home Office. Certain universities, such as the University of Cambridge, explicitly mention whether your course qualifies as ‘research-based’ in the CAS.

Describe the term “government-sponsored student.”?

In addition to students pursuing a PhD or a research-based higher degree, individuals sponsored by the government for courses lasting 6 months or more can also bring dependants to the UK. This sponsorship entails full coverage of course fees and maintenance expenses through a scholarship.

According to The Student and Child Student caseworker guidance, scholarships enabling dependant sponsorship must meet the following criteria:

  • Government-funded scholarship.
  • Sponsored by a central government department.
  • Encompassing all expenses, including tuition fees and living costs, for the student.

Applications for Student Dependant Extensions

Guidelines for Student Dependent Visa Extensions Before January 1, 2024

For students who began their courses before January 2024 and whose dependents were initially granted permission as student dependents, the option to apply for a visa extension remains available. This holds even if the student does not fit into any exceptions outlined in the updated regulations.

It’s essential to note that the new rules do not affect those who commenced their studies before January 1, 2024, even during the extension process. However, it’s imperative to continue meeting the criteria for a student-dependent visa. You can find further information regarding the preserved UK Strict Student visa requirements in this blog post.

Guidelines for Student Dependants Visa Extensions For 2024

In compliance with updated regulations effective January 1, 2024, students meeting the prerequisites for bringing dependants can facilitate their dependant’s visa application. Upon successful visa acquisition, dependants are eligible to seek extensions using the established procedures, akin to those applied before the specified date.

Extending Stay for Student Dependents under the Graduate Visa Application

When a student applies for a Graduate Visa, the opportunity for their dependents to extend their stay is available, regardless of whether the student began their course before or after January 1, 2024, provided the dependant was initially granted leave as a Student dependent. However, the main student must receive permission to stay as a Graduate for the dependant to extend their leave through this route.

Please note, that new dependents are generally not allowed on the Graduate route, except in cases where a dependent child is born in the UK during a period of Student or Graduate leave. Refer to our detailed blog post on the Graduate Visa for further clarification on this exception.

It’s essential to stay informed that in December 2023, the government announced plans to review the Graduate route as part of their ongoing efforts to manage migration to the UK. Consequently, these regulations may change in the future.

Triospace Overseas is your one-stop solution for the best overseas consultants in Hyderabad. Offering multiple services like student visas to 6+ countries  For expert advice and assistance with Student visas and/or Student dependant applications contact our immigration barristers at 8555825755, and fill out the inquiry form here

FAQs

What are the new rules for dependent visas in the UK in 2024?

On July 17th, the UK Government announced revisions to the Immigration Rules impacting international students within the UK. Starting January 2024, international students will have limited ability to bring dependents on their UK Student visa, except when enrolled in postgraduate research programs.

Will the UK spouse visa change in 2024?

In 2024, the anticipated rise in the UK Spouse Visa’s minimum income requirement is set to take effect on April 11th, 2024, elevating from £18,600 to £29,000 annually. Subsequent increments are projected, to reach £38,700 by early 2025. This marks a substantial surge from the prior threshold.

Can I work and study while on a UK Student Dependent visa?

If you are a dependant over the age of 16, there are no restrictions on the type of employment you can do in the UK, with the following exceptions:

  • You cannot work as a trainee doctor or dentist; additionally,
  • You are unable to work as a professional athlete or coach.
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