Stricter Student Visa Changes Announced: What Does This Mean for Students?

The UK government recently announced strict student visa changes in an attempt to tackle student visa abuse. 

International students and those who wish to study in the UK must be aware of these changes so that they can make informed decisions about pursuing education in the UK.

This blog post aims to break down the new rules, explain their rationale, and offer valuable advice to those with student visas. This is so that those who are or will be affected by these changes understand the impact this will have on them and the options they will have under the new student visa rules. 

Key Changes Introduced

The recent announcement from the UK government includes several key adjustments to the student visa policy. These include:

  • Increased Financial Requirements: Students will now need to demonstrate a higher level of financial self-sufficiency to qualify for a visa.
  • Dependents: International undergraduate and master’s students can no longer bring dependents on their visa (partners married or unmarried, and children under 18). 
  • Tougher English Language Proficiency Tests: Stricter criteria for English language skills have been established.
  • Limited Working Hours: The number of hours students are permitted to work while studying has been further restricted.
  • More Comprehensive Background Checks: Enhanced scrutiny of applicants’ backgrounds to prevent fraudulent applications.

Impact on International Students

Short-term Effects

The immediate consequences of these changes for international students include potential application delays due to more comprehensive background checks, higher costs associated with meeting the increased financial requirements, and the need to adjust to new English language proficiency standards and working hour limitations.

Statistics from the home office have found that, as a result of the ban on dependents, applications from ‘main applicants’ (excluding dependents) have dropped by 15% compared to the rate of applications at the same time last year. This would suggest that this ban has had a large and immediate impact on these international students’ ability to study in the UK now that it is much harder for family to join. 

Long-term Effects

In the long term, these changes could reduce the number of applications even further, as the bulk of applications from international students tend to be made during the August/September months (the end of the academic year). While we have already seen dramatic changes, it will be at this time that we will see their true extent.  

Students may also face challenges in balancing work and study due to limited working hours. They should also be aware that more changes may eventually come, particularly to the very popular graduate visa route, after a review was conducted on its impact earlier this year. 

Our Tips and Advice

Understanding the New Requirements

Navigating the new visa requirements can be daunting, but here’s how to ensure compliance. The best thing you can do is stay informed. You can do this by regularly checking official resources for updates on the new student visa requirements. Websites such as the official UK government website are some of the best places to check for the most up-to-date information. 

You can also ensure that you meet the increased financial criteria by planning your finances well in advance and considering additional English language courses or practice to meet the tougher proficiency standards. 

Seeking Legal Assistance

Consulting with immigration experts like Tann Law Solicitors can make a significant difference in your situation.

Experienced immigration lawyers can provide tailored advice to help you understand and meet the new requirements. They can assist in ensuring that your application is complete and error-free, reducing the risk of delays or rejections, and providing ongoing support throughout your studies to help you address any issues that arise.

For more information on Tann Law’s immigration services for students, click here.


The recent changes to the UK’s student visa policy may bring more challenges to international students and those wishing to study in the UK, but we are here to help.

By understanding the new rules and seeking professional advice, you can better prepare for the application process and your time in the UK.

For personalised assistance, consider booking a consultation with Tann Law Solicitors to help you navigate these changes smoothly. Get in touch today to start the process.