UK – Restrictions to student visa routes came into effect.

UK: Government Implements Stricter Student Visa Rules to Cut Migration and Curb Abuse of Immigration System

The UK government has implemented new restrictions on student visas, effective immediately, as part of its broader effort to reduce overall migration and prevent abuse of the immigration system. Under these changes, international students starting courses will no longer be allowed to bring family members, except for postgraduate research courses and courses with government-funded scholarships. The move aims to cut migration by an estimated 140,000 people.

The Office for National Statistics reported a significant increase in visas issued to dependants of students, prompting the government to address what it sees as unsustainable levels of migration. Home Secretary James Cleverly emphasized the government’s commitment to reducing migration, with measures extending beyond student visas, including increased salary thresholds, regulation of care firms sponsoring visas, and reviews of the Graduate route.

Minister for Legal Migration and the Border, Tom Pursglove MP, justified the changes by citing the surge in dependants accompanying students and the need to protect public services while supporting the economy. The government assures that these measures strike a balance to maintain the attractiveness of the UK’s higher education sector while preventing institutions from exploiting immigration for non-educational purposes. These changes are part of a broader strategy to reduce overall migration by 300,000 people, with the government also addressing issues such as health and care visas, salary thresholds, and the regulation of care firms. The government plans to work with universities to develop alternative approaches to attract skilled individuals while gradually introducing the package of measures throughout early 2024.


Office, H. (2024) Tough government action on student visas comes into effect, GOV.UK.

Available at: Here (Accessed: 25: January 2024).