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Following an announcement made by the Home Office in May 2023, the UK Government published on 17 July changes to the Immigration Rules which affect international students studying in the UK.
From January 2024, international students in the UK will no longer be able to bring dependants on their student visa, unless they are studying a postgraduate research programme (a PhD course; a doctoral qualification; or a research-based higher degree).
Also, from 17 July international students are no longer permitted to switch to work route visas unless they have completed their course.
Another change concerns the EU Settlement Scheme. The Immigration Rules from 9 August 2023 will remove the requirement to apply for continuing immigration permission before the expiry of pre-settled status. The UK government may extend limited permission under the EU Settlement Scheme regardless of whether the person with the permission makes an application under the scheme.
While the initial aim of the new government restrictions to student visa routes has been to cut net migration while protecting the economic benefits students bring to the UK, interest in UK postgraduate study programmes has started to decline amongst certain international audiences so as its reputation of a welcoming place for postgraduate study, according to some sector analysts.