Visas in the UK: What Do The Recent Changes Mean For You? |
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Posted on 5 Feb '24

Visas in the UK: What Do The Recent Changes Mean For You?

There have been a number of changes to UK visas announced in the last few months. We’ve been keeping you up-to- date as these announcements were made but there’s been so many we decided to pull them into one place. If you’re planning on studying a Masters/PhD in the UK soon, you need to be aware of these changes to visas and fees.

Changes to immigration fee

Most recently, the UK Government announced that, as of 6 February 2024, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will be increasing to £776 per year for students and their dependants, and to £1,035 per year for Graduate Route applicants. This is an increase from the existing £470 for students and £624 for graduates.

This announcement comes only a few months after changes to visa application fees in October last year. The cost of a student visa application from outside the UK is now £490 (an increase of £127) and that of the Graduate Route visa application is now £822 (an increase of £107).

Bringing dependants along

From January 2024, only students on PhD courses, doctoral qualifications or research-based higher degrees can bring family members to the UK on a student visa. This means students on most Masters will no longer be able to bring dependants with them during their studies. Some qualifications like the MRes or a 1+3 programme may be classed as research by the university in which case you may be able to bring dependants, so it’s important you check to see if these changes apply to your course.

Switching to a work visa

As of January 2024, students can also no longer switch to a work visa before completing their course. This means you won’t be able to drop out of your course and start working in the UK. You will have to wait to complete your course before you can move on to a work visa. The course end date is determined using the date mentioned on your CAS.

How is the Graduate Route visa affected?

Currently, these changes do not affect the length of the Graduate Route visa. PhD students will still be allowed to stay and work for up to three years after their course. However, the changes to the health surcharge and application fees do apply to Graduate Route applicants as well.

There have been concerns about shortening of the post-study work visa previously, but these have not been part of any of the announcements yet. Sign up to our newsletters to keep updated with any news in the future!

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Last Updated: 05 February 2024