Scotland: further clarity on amended ‘Relevant connection’ category

13 July 2023


In June 2023, we asked the Scottish Government about the new provision, for those ‘granted limited leave to enter or remain which has not expired’, made in its recently amended category for those with a ‘Relevant connection with Scotland’. We wanted to know if, in its view, this new provision could, from 1 August 2023, be used by a student who had already started their course and is continuing this, as well as by a student who will be starting a new course.

We gave Scottish Government the scenario of a student who was not eligible for ‘home’ fees before 1 August 2023 but who, as they embark on their second or third or fourth year on or after 1 August 2023, is now asking to have their fee status reassessed for that particular year onwards. We asked this because the new provisions, contained in regulation 3 paragraphs (a), (b), and (c)(ii)-(c)(iii) of the Education (Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2022, taking effect for an academic year beginning on or after 1 August 2023, seem to allow this. In response, Scottish Government has confirmed to us that if a continuing student met the new criteria on their 'relevant date' (at the start of their course) then they will be eligible for 'home' fee status from 1 August 2023 onwards under this category.

We are not clear how many people will benefit, or seek to benefit, from this further assurance from the Scottish Government.

As we reported in our recent news item, Scotland: Consultation response, new fees and student support regulations, Scottish Government has amended the category for those with a ‘Relevant connection with Scotland’ to include provision for those ‘granted limited leave to enter or remain which has not expired’, following a consultation it held in early 2023. The new provision replaces the former provision in place for those with ‘long residence’.

It’s important to note that this new provision is not for those who have applied for refugee status. However, such people are already provided for elsewhere in the regulations. Scottish Government also stated, in its consultation response, that it does not intend this new provision to be used by those in the UK with Student route permission:

“Those who enter the UK on a study visa will remain ineligible for home fee status and student financial support as they have entered the UK for the purposes of education and therefore do not meet the ordinary resident test.”

Those in the UK as the dependants of Student visa holders will, in theory, be able to use this category. However, they will be subject to the ordinary residence requirement and, as such, many will not yet have acquired three years’ residency.

Visit Scotland: fee status for more information on recent changes, which will be updated soon.