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Changes to the Student visas and their dependants 

Changes to student visa routes to limit net immigration were announced on May 23, 2023. These were incorporated into the immigration regulations in the July 17, 2023 amended statement. In response to government pledges, the following changes will be made to student routes to reduce net immigration. 

  • Removing the ability of international students to bring dependents unless they are enrolled for postgraduate courses that are currently categorised as research programmes; and

  • Removing the option for international students to move from the student route to the employment route before completing their studies.

  • Dependents already in the UK can extend their stay, and international students on taught post-graduate courses that begin before 1 January 2024 can still apply to bring their dependents with them.

Students enrolled in degree-level or higher courses may apply for a sponsored work visa or a skilled worker visa prior to the course's completion as long as their job start date does not coincide with the course's completion. After 24 months of study, PhD candidates will be eligible to switch programmes.

Students are only eligible to switch to an ancestry visa or a global talent visa once they have finished their course or are enrolled in a full-time programme leading to a PhD at an institution of higher education with a solid compliance record and have completed at least 24 months of that the course.


The changes in relation to dependants will only apply to those students starting courses from 1 January 2024, so there will be no effect on those students making applications relating to courses starting in autumn 2023. Also they don't affect existing exemptions for dependants of government-sponsored students and for dependent children who are born in the UK.

In order to prevent students from usually moving in-country to another route before completing their studies, switching restrictions have been put in place. Before completing their education, several students dropped out of their courses in order to apply for skilled worker or employment visas. According to the current immigration laws, this is no longer acceptable.


An immediate change applies to International Students in the UK

On July 17, 2023, at 1500, the following amendments to the skilled worker visa will go into effect. Any additional applications submitted before that day will be considered in line with the immigration rules in effect on July 16, 2023.

You must fulfil one of the following requirements A, B, or C on the date of application if you want to change from a student visa to a skilled worker visa:

  • Condition A: The applicant must have finished the term of study for which the CAS letter was issued; OR

  • Condition B: The applicant must be enrolled in a full-time, degree-level course of study with an institution of higher learning with a proven track record of compliance, and the commencement date of the certificate of sponsorship cannot be earlier than the course completion date; OR

  • Condition C requires that the applicant be enrolled full-time in a PhD programme at an institution of higher learning with a proven track record of compliance, and that the start date of the sponsorship certificate not be more than 24 months after the course's start date.

For jobs that have been identified as being in demand and where immigration makes sense as a means of addressing that demand, the Shortage Occupation List offers reduced wage criteria and cheaper visa application fees. Building jobs and fishing jobs added to the shortage occupation list. 

For applicants who are sponsored for General Practitioner (GP) specialty training, a modification is being made. Instead of the customary 14 days, they will now be permitted to remain in the country for up to 4 months beyond the expiration of their sponsorship certificate. A further change is being made to enable them to work extra hours during this time. 

For consistency with Temporary Work routes, a specific requirement is being added that applicants must genuinely intend to undertake their sponsored job, and not intend to work in breach of their conditions.


Changes to the EUSS and EUSS family permit 

Following the most recent High Court ruling, the new policy has been implemented that is it is illegal for the Home Office to demand that those with pre-settled status submit another EUSS application before their first 5-year authorization expires.

On August 8, 2023, the EUSS will stop accepting new applications under two routes that are not covered by the Agreements: family members of qualifying British citizens (known as "Surinder Singh" cases) who have returned to the UK after exercising their right to free movement in the EEA or Switzerland, and primary carers of British citizens (known as "Zambrano" cases).

British citizens wishing to sponsor foreign national family members to settle in the UK, that any new. Applications should have to meet the family Immigration Rules applicable to others.

To include within the EUSS the child of a durable partner where the child has turned 18 since they were granted pre-settled status under the scheme.


To prevent a valid application to the EUSS as a joining family
member being made by an illegal entrant to the UK, thereby reinforcing the Government’s approach to tackling illegal migration. 


Home Office has extended the deadline for the Ukraine Extension Scheme

The Ukraine Extension Scheme enables Ukrainian nationals who held permission to enter or stay in the UK on 18 March 2022 (or who held permission which expired on or after 1 January 2022) to continue their stay in the UK.

This change extends the scheme to allow Ukrainian nationals who obtain permission to enter or stay in the UK for any period between 18 March 2022 and 16 November 2023 to apply to the Ukraine Extension Scheme and obtain 36 months’ permission to stay in the UK.


Ukrainian nationals who travel to the UK without making an application to one of the Ukraine Schemes can be considered for six months’ Leave Outside the Rules at the border. If those granted wish to stay in the UK, they need to make an application for further permission to stay.

Extending the eligibility period of the Ukraine Extension Scheme will provide a route for these individuals, as well as other Ukrainian nationals who arrived with permission to enter or stay on another route after 18 March 2022, to obtain a longer period of permission to stay and therefore greater certainty in respect of their immigration status


Pausing the differentiation policy

Provisions within the Nationality and Borders Act (NABA) which came into force on 28 June 2022 set out the framework to differentiate between two groups of refugees; “Group 1” and “Group 2”.

Group 1 refugees are normally granted refugee permission to stay for five years after which they can apply for settlement, whereas Group 2 refugees are normally granted temporary refugee permission to stay for 30 months on a 10-year route to settlement.

Individuals who have already received a “Group 2” or humanitarian protection decision under post-28 June 2022 policies will be contacted and will have their conditions aligned to those afforded to “Group 1” refugees. This includes length of permission to stay, route to settlement, and eligibility for Family Reunion


Immigration Rules to improve clarity regarding the withdrawal of asylum applications whilst strengthening the ability to promptly treat as withdrawn asylum applications from individuals who do not comply with processes.


To arrange an initial consultation, you will need to book an appointment.

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