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Foreign students cannot bring dependents to the UK

  1. Immigration Blog
  2. Foreign students cannot bring dependents to the UK

Rule will not apply to those pursuing PhD or research degrees

International students in the United Kingdom will no longer be allowed to bring their dependents to the country if their course begins after January 1, 2024, the government has said.

This rule will not apply to those pursing PhDs or other doctoral qualifications, or a research based higher degree, according to the statement. "Research-based higher degree means a postgraduate programme comprising a research component, including a requirement to produce original work that is larger than any accompanying taught component when measured by student effort."

There were 679,970 international students in the U.K. in the academic year 2021/22, 12.4 percent higher than in the preceding period, according to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Of these, 372,500 were enrolled in post graduate courses.

The changes also remove international students’ ability to switch into work routes before their studies have been completed.

Students on courses at degree level or above will be able to apply before course completion to switch to sponsored work routes, as long as their employment start date is not before their course completion. Those studying towards PhDs will be able to switch after 24 months’ study.

The amendments also remove the ability for international students to apply for permission to stay as a dependant in a work route such as skilled worker, senior or specialist worker, graduate trainee, U.K. expansion worker, service supplier, secondment worker, T2 minister of religion, representative of an overseas business, global talent, high potential individual, scale-up, innovator founder, international sportsperson, as a dependant under the U.K. ancestry route, or as a dependant any of the temporary worker routes - creative worker, charity worker, religious worker, international agreement, government authorised exchange.

The U.K. government is under pressure to reduce the number of foreign nationals coming to the country after net migration climbed 24 percent in 2022 to a record 606,000, according to figures released in May.

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