New Rules for International Students (UK) | 2024 PSW Scheme

students visa changes 2024

Introduction

A of January 1st, 2024, international students who are studying in the UK will no longer have the option to bring their dependents (spouse, civil partner, children) into the UK with them on their student visa, except for those who are enrolled in postgraduate research programs.

Overview of UK Student Visa Rule Changes

Visa Rule Changes

Impact on International Students in the UK

Dependent Eligibility

Only PhD and postgraduate research students can bring dependents.
Course Completion Requirement All students must complete their course before switching to a UK work visa with a post-course job start date.
PhD Study Duration Requirement (for Work Visa) PhD students need a minimum of 24 months of study before switching to a work visa (e.g., Skilled Worker visa).

Understanding UK Student Visa Types in 2024

In light of these changes, understanding the various types of student visas available becomes more important than ever. As of 2024, the type of visa you apply for will determine not just your study and work opportunities in the UK but also the possibility of having your family accompany you. Our detailed guide on student visa types provides an in-depth look into each category and its specific requirements.

Eligibility Criteria for UK Student Visas in 2024

The eligibility criteria for UK student visas in 2024 have been updated to align with the new rules.

 Key points include:

  • Completion of the course of study before transitioning to a work visa.
  • PhD students must have a minimum of 24 months of study for work visa eligibility.
  • The new rules for dependants apply only to courses starting after 1st January 2024.

Understanding these criteria is essential for a successful visa application and future planning.

2024 student visa changes

Application Process for UK Student Visas in 2024

Applying for a UK student visa in 2024 involves several crucial steps:

  1. Choose the Right Visa Type: Based on your course and study duration, select the appropriate visa category. You can rea our comprehensive guide on student visa types for more detailed information.
  2. Gather Required Documents: This includes your passport, proof of acceptance from a UK educational institution, financial evidence showing sufficient funds, and a recent photograph.
  3. Meet the English Language Requirement: Demonstrate proficiency in English through approved tests like IELTS or TOEFL.
  4. Understand the Timeline: Submit your application at least three months before your course starts. Processing times can vary, so plan accordingly.
  5. Apply Online: Instruct Primus Solicitors as your Legal Representatives, then our expert Immigration Solicitors will complete all the relevant and necessary application forms needed
  6. Pay the Visa Fee and Healthcare Surcharge: Ensure you pay all necessary fees, including the healthcare surcharge for access to the UK’s National Health Service.
  7. Attend an Interview or Biometric Appointment: Depending on your location, you may need to attend an interview or provide biometric information.

By following these steps and understanding the new 2024 regulations, you can navigate the student visa application process effectively.

Financial Requirements and Support for UK International Students in 2024

Starting from January 31st 2024, the annual fee for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will increase to £1,064, from the current fee of £624. Consequently, applicants on a two-year Post-Study Work visa will be required to cover an IHS charge of £2,128, and those applying for the three-year pathway (including doctoral students) will incur a fee of £3,192.

Key requirements include but are not limited to:

  1. Proof of Funds: Show evidence of sufficient funds to cover your course fees and living costs for at least nine months. The exact amount depends on your institution and location in the UK.
  2. Tuition Fees: Ensure you have the means to pay your course fees, which vary based on your chosen university and program.
  3. Living Expenses: Budget for accommodation, food, travel, and other personal expenses. The UK Home Office provides specific guidance on the minimum amount required.
  4. Financial Support and Scholarships: Explore scholarship opportunities offered by UK universities, charities, and government schemes. Many institutions provide financial aid specifically for international students.
  5. Working While Studying: Understand the regulations for part-time work on a student visa, which can supplement your income.

By carefully planning your finances and exploring all available support options, you can ensure a stable and stress-free study experience in the UK.

Impact on University Admissions and Course Selection in 2024

The 2024 changes to UK student visa rules significantly influence university admissions and course selection for international students. Here’s a breakdown:

Course Level and Duration

The new rules link the ability to bring dependants and the eligibility to switch to a work visa post-study to specific course levels and durations. Students pursuing PhD or research-based postgraduate programs are granted more leeway regarding dependants and work visa transitions. This factor is crucial for students who have long-term residency plans in the UK and should be a key consideration when choosing a course.

University Selection Criteria

Selecting a university that is recognised by the UK government and has a proven record of compliance is now more important than ever. This recognition is vital for your eligibility for a Post-Study Work visa, influencing your long-term career prospects in the UK.

Financial Planning for Course Fees and Living Expenses

With the updated rules, ensuring financial stability throughout your course duration is essential, especially if dependants who might have contributed to household income cannot accompany you. This calls for meticulous financial planning and exploring scholarship opportunities.

Key Consideration

Description

Implications

Course Completion and Visa Switching Courses should be chosen to allow completion before visa switching. Align course duration with career plans for smooth transition to work visas.
Consideration for Dependents Only certain postgraduate courses allow bringing dependants. Influences course choice for those planning to bring family.
Aligning Career Goals with Visa Regulations Preference for courses related to shortage occupations or high-employment sectors. Facilitates easier transition to Skilled Worker visa post-graduation.
Advisory Services and Support Utilisation of university advisory services and immigration experts. Helps in making informed decisions that comply with new regulations.

By navigating these factors strategically, international students can align their educational choices with both the new visa regulations and their personal and professional aspirations, ensuring a fulfilling study experience in the UK.

Working While Studying – Updated Guidelines for 2024

The UK’s 2024 student visa regulations allow international students to work part-time during their studies, but it’s important to understand the specific rules:
  1. Permitted Work Hours: Students can usually work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations.
  2. Type of Work: Some restrictions apply to the type of work you can do, such as not being self-employed or engaging in professional sports.
  3. Postgraduate Research Students: Additional flexibility may be available for those pursuing research-based programs.
  4. Income from Work: Remember, while part-time work can help with living expenses, it should not be relied upon as the sole means to meet the financial requirement of your student visa.

Adhering to these work guidelines is crucial for maintaining your visa status while studying in the UK.

Post Study Work Options and Visa Extensions in 2024

Upon completing your studies, you have several options to extend your stay in the UK:

  1. Switch to a Post-Study Work Visa (PSW): The PSW visa, also known as the UK Graduate visa, allows you to stay in the UK for up to two years (three years for PhD graduates) to work or look for work.
  2. Requirements for PSW Visa: You must have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a UK higher education provider with a track record of compliance.
  3. Switching to a Skilled Worker Visa: If you have an offer for an eligible job that meets the minimum salary requirements (currently £26,200 per year or £10.75 per hour), you can switch to a Skilled Worker visa.
  4. Dependants: If you switch to a PSW visa, your partner and children can apply for a dependant visa, provided they were already your dependants in the UK while you were studying.

Please Note* Following the Prime Minister’s Newley propose immigration updates for spring 2024, it may be the case that as of the time period previously mentioned, Russel Group Universities will be prioritised over any others in regard to applicants to the PSW Scheme.

However, this is yet to be passed through parliament, and the UK Government is yet to provide any further information on the future of the PSW Scheme

Conclusion

The new rules for international students in the UK in 2024 bring about significant changes, particularly concerning dependants and post-study work options. It’s essential to stay informed and prepare accordingly to ensure a smooth academic and post-academic experience in the UK. Remember, keeping abreast of the latest visa regulations and planning ahead is key to a successful and rewarding study experience in the UK.

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