UK Home Office Makes Several Immigration Law Changes That Affect International Students In 2023
The number of international students applying to study in the UK is always on the rise, as the standard of tertiary education and research in the UK are the among the best in the world. With 2023 approaching, the UK Home Office has made law changes that affect those applying to study in the UK in 2023 and beyond.
In this article, CampusLifestyle.org elaborates on these changes and how they affect your study and stay in the UK from 2023 going forward. The changes are wide-ranging and affect not only the international student seeking to study in the UK, but also the dependant(s) of that student.
The changes were published on 18 October 2022 in the British Government Gazette and took effect from 9 November 2022. Now, let us look at these issues in turn. Six key changes directly affect international students themselves, and we outline them below in turn.
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Six key changes directly affecting international students
A major change is that British Overseas Territories have now been added to the list of majority English speaking countries. This means that applicants who are either citizens of, or who have a degree or degree-level qualification taught in a university or college in, the British Overseas Territories now automatically meet the English language requirement.
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For those not in the know, British Overseas Territories are regions that are under the sovereignty of the UK but are not form part of the UK itself, such as Bermuda, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands. A second change is that an international applicant who has a GCSE qualification or higher in Welsh, Scots Gaelic or Irish language now automatically meets the English language requirement. A third and vast change is that with effect from 9 November 2022, nationals of Colombia, Guyana and Peru are no longer be visa nationals and all their applications are treated as non-visa applications.
A fourth change is that international students applying as a short-term student on or after 9 November 2022 can now use official financial sponsorship as evidence of meeting the financial requirement for studying in the UK.
This is quite a detailed subject, but please read the UK immigration rules appendix finance to obtain an all-round understanding of the immigration rules on that aspect. A fifth major change we want to highlight is that midwifery international students in the UK are now allowed to undertake electives. This again is with effect from 9 November 2022.
Finally and most fundamentally, the UK Home Office has announced that international students are no longer required to register with the police and any police registration condition imposed before 9 November 2022 ceases to have effect on that date.
As such, all references to police registration will be removed from the immigration rules requirements for international students. You may find it informative to read the Home Office’s announcement of the abolition of the police registration scheme.
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Other changes to watch out for:
Of course, the changes made are vast, and there are several others to take note of For example, the UK Home Office has narrowed the definition of the term employment. With effect from 9 November 2022, the definition of employment will be amended to make clear that it does not include standing for election in local or devolved government. This means that those with restrictions on employment are not prohibited from undertaking this activity.
Another change worth highlighting is that with the war in Ukraine, the UK Home Office has introduced the Ukraine Extension Scheme. This facility is only available to Ukrainian nationals who had permission to be in the UK at any point from 18 March 2022 to 16 May 2023. However, no applications to the scheme will be possible after 16 November 2023.
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A final change we want to highlight is that if the finances of a person who is applying as a dependant of an Student drop substantially lower than the required amount between the date they submit their application and the date of the decision, a Home Office caseworker will have to be satisfied that the funds have been used for costs associated with accommodation deposits or “other costs associated with the proposed period of permission in the UK”.
Note that CampusLifestyle.org has given you this information in shortened form, so you may want to reference the original full statements and make informed decisions. Therefore, we share below the full statement which you find on: Statement of changes to the immigration rules: HC719, 18 October 2022 (accessible) or Statement of changes to the immigration rules: HC719, 18 October 2022 (pdf).
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