UK Student Visa Update: Restrictions on International Student Dependents

The United Kingdom is a popular destination for international students seeking world-class education and diverse cultural experiences. However, the landscape for international students in the UK is set to undergo significant changes, as announced by the UK Government on 23 May 2023. One of the most notable changes is the restriction on international student dependents accompanying their loved ones. In this article, we will delve into the key changes and their potential implications for students seeking UK student visas.

UK Student Visas and Dependents

The recent government announcement brings about a crucial alteration regarding international student dependents. From January 2024, international students will no longer have the automatic right to bring dependents, except for those pursuing postgraduate courses designated as research programs.

Key Changes in UK Student Visa Rules

  1. Dependent Restrictions: The most significant change pertains to the restriction on bringing dependents. While postgraduate research students will still have this privilege, others may find it challenging to bring their families to the UK.
  2. No Early Switch to Work Routes: Another significant change is the removal of the ability for international students to switch from the student route to work routes before completing their studies. This means that students will have to complete their educational programs before pursuing work opportunities in the UK.
  3. Review of Maintenance Requirements: The government also announced a review of maintenance requirements for students and dependents, though specific details are yet to be revealed.

Important Considerations

  1. Graduate Route and Dependents: If you plan to apply under the Graduate route, it’s essential to note that dependents must already be in the UK as student dependents to qualify as graduate dependents. This implies that you should consider your dependents’ status well in advance.
  2. Existing Student Permission: If you are already in the UK with student permission, you can currently have your dependents join you, but uncertainties linger about the situation post-January 2024.
  3. Courses and Dependents: While research degree students can still have their dependents join or stay with them, it remains uncertain how other qualifications and circumstances will be affected.
  4. Government-Sponsored Students: Government-sponsored students currently have the privilege of bringing or being joined by dependents. However, it is unclear whether this exception will persist in light of the new changes.
  5. Work Routes After Studies: The changes do not prevent students from applying under work routes after completing their courses, but it’s essential to consider the specific requirements and potential exceptions, especially for PhD students.
  6. Maintenance Requirement Uncertainty: The new maintenance requirement remains undisclosed, but the Home Office typically provides several months’ notice before increasing the funds requirement.

Will These Changes Remain?

The government intends to implement these changes, and consultation with the education sector is expected to follow. While there’s a possibility that these changes may be reviewed, it is advisable to prepare for the new rules and stay informed about any updates that may arise in the future.


The recent changes in UK student visa rules, particularly the restrictions on international student dependents, mark a significant shift in the landscape for aspiring students. To navigate these changes successfully, it is vital for international students to stay informed, plan accordingly, and consider the specific circumstances and requirements related to their studies and dependents. As we await further information and potential updates, these changes emphasise the importance of thorough preparation and a proactive approach for prospective students.

Why Instruct Our Specialist Immigration Solicitors?

At DJF Solicitors, our team of specialist immigration lawyers will always act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meetings, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a visa application and are able to advise you in respect of your prospects and to ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss your visa application.

Contact Us

For professional guidance and assistance with your application, contact our immigration solicitors on 02030110276 or complete our contact form.

Call Now Button search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close