UK Immigration: Decline in UK Study Visa Applications

UK Immigration: Decline in UK Study Visa Applications

The number of individuals seeking entry to the UK on student visas has plummeted to unprecedented lows since the pandemic.

Recently released data from the UK Home Office highlights a significant downturn in both student-dependent applications and overall student visa applications following the implementation of new legislation earlier this year.

At the beginning of this year, revised rules prevented international master’s students from bringing dependents to the UK as part of the measures to cut net migration to the UK. Presently, only postgraduate research students are permitted to bring family members.

Data released by the government reveals that student-dependent visa applications decreased by 79.5 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period of 2023.

There were 34,000 main student visa applications in the first quarter of 2024, a 14.8 percent decrease compared to the same period the previous year.

Further complicating matters, a 65 percent rise in the Immigration Health Surcharge went into force in February of this year, requiring student visa applicants to pay £776 every year.

Despite these immediate impacts, the Home Office warns that a clearer understanding of the policy changes' full effects will emerge during the peak student application periods in August and September.

Impact On Reduced Student Visa Intakes

The recent policy shifts are already dampening interest in studying in the UK among prospective international students, potentially casting a shadow on the UK economy.

A sudden fall in enrollments could render a variety of courses financially unviable, causing significant financial strain across many institutions.

A study commissioned by Universities UK (UUK) found that the growth in international students since 2019 has delivered a £60bn boost to the entire UK’s economy.

A report from agency group IDP Education revealed that the UK, Australia, and Canada are attracting fewer international higher education students than the United States.

The trend was mainly attributed to the changes made by these territories to their immigration policies.

Where do you plan to travel this year? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or a visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

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