Student update: changes to the Immigration Rules, September 2023

20 September 2023


The Home Office has published a Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules, which will affect immigration applications for the UK. 

The statement was published on 7 September 2023. The changes won’t take effect until the dates outlined below. 

In this news item, we highlight some changes of most relevance to: 

  • A Student route applicant or their dependant(s). 
  • A Short-term student applicant. 
  • A Graduate route applicant. 
  • An EU Settlement Scheme applicant.  

We also highlight some other general and cross-cutting changes. 

Student route 

If you are under 18 and applying for a Student visa, your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must give their consent to the application. From 5 October 2023, this consent must include the contact details of the parent(s) or legal guardian(s). 

Dependants of a Student 

The requirement for someone seeking immigration permission as a dependant of a Student, where that dependant has been previously financially sponsored, or in receipt of a scholarship, has been updated to bring it into line with the equivalent requirement for Students.  

This means that, from 5 October 2023, written consent will be required where the applicant has, “completed a course of studies in the UK” within the previous 12 months (and for which they have been awarded such a scholarship or sponsorship). This change means only those who have completed study within this period will be expected to provide written consent. However, it also appears to mean that this will now apply to those who were awarded their scholarship or sponsorship for that study at any time in the past, which means not just in the previous 12 months. 

Certain specific requirements relating to someone seeking immigration permission as a dependant child of a Student, which are currently housed in Appendix Student, are being moved to a new location in the Rules: Appendix Children. The requirements relate to a dependant child applicant’s relationship to a Student (or the partner of a Student), their care arrangements, and their age. While most of the requirements remain the same, albeit in a new location, several things have been amended: 

  • From 5 October 2023, if a parent of a dependant child applicant has British citizenship, or has permission to enter or stay in the UK without restriction, and they live or intend to live in the UK, there is no longer a requirement for that parent to be applying at the same time as the dependant child applicant or to already have permission. 
  • From 5 October 2023, the Immigration Rules are being amended so that the requirement to not be leading an independent life applies to the child no matter what their age is. Additionally, the definition of “Must not be leading an independent life” is being amended. This change in definition would mean that a dependant child applicant could be in full-time employment and they would not have to be wholly or mainly dependent upon their parent for financial or emotional support. 

We have updated our student pages on Dependants to reflect these changes. 

Graduate route 

The requirements for Graduate route applicants, and for dependants of a Graduate, who have been previously financially sponsored or previously in receipt of a scholarship have been updated. These updates are in line with the equivalent update in this statement for Student route Dependants. See Dependants of a Student, above. This now brings the requirement in line with that for Student route applicants (and their dependants). These changes will come into effect on 5 October 2023. 

We will be updating our student pages on the Graduate route to reflect these changes. 

Short-term student (English language) 

A number of requirements for applicants who are 16 and 17 have moved to a new, cross-cutting section of the Rules: Appendix Children. However, there appears to be no substantive change to any specific requirements for this route affected by that move. 

From 5 October 2023, the section on ‘Account holders’ in Appendix Finance is being amended so that those applying as a (English language) can use a bank account in the name of their parent or their legal guardian to evidence their funds. This brings them in line with the requirements for someone applying under the Student route. Another part of that same section is amended to clarify that if a Short-term student is relying on funds held in an account in the name of a parent or legal guardian, they must provide proof of that relationship and written consent from the parent or legal guardian to use those funds. This is similar to the rules for Students or Child Students. 

We have updated our student advice pages on the Short-term student visa to reflect these changes. 

Cross-cutting change relating to validity of immigration applications 

Paragraphs concerned with validity have been reworded across the Student route, the Child student route, and the Short-term student route, to make a number of changes giving greater discretion to the Home Office to not automatically reject an application that fails to meet the validity requirements. These changes will come into effect on 5 October 2023. 

EU Settlement Scheme and EU Settlement Scheme (Family Permit) 

There will no longer be a right to an administrative review if an application made under Appendix EU or Appendix EU (Family Permit) is refused, or if permission granted under either of those two routes is cancelled on or after 5 October 2023. However, in all of those cases, the right to an appeal will remain in place. 

Public funds 

Many people have immigration permission that says they must have ‘no public funds’. From 5 October 2023, the list of what counts as ‘public funds’ is expanded to include a few more types of payment. See our page on welfare benefits for the updated list. 

Tuberculosis testing 

There is a new Appendix Tuberculosis (TB), which replaces requirements previously contained elsewhere in the Immigration Rules and in the soon-to-be-deleted Appendix T. This new appendix provides greater detail on when a tuberculosis certificate is required, and which applicants are affected by this. All references to the requirement for a tuberculosis test certificate, across the Student route, the Child Student route, and the Short-term Student (English Language) route, now relate to Appendix Tuberculosis (TB) and direct an applicant to those newly-worded requirements there. This new appendix will take effect on 5 October 2023. 

Where necessary, we will update our information on tuberculosis tests. 

If you want to find out more about all other changes, you can read the Explanatory Memorandum of the Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules. 

UKCISA members can read our pending update item (‘7 September 2023 changes’) in the UKCISA manual, which cross-refers to relevant parts of the manual affected by these changes and which we aim to update no later than two weeks after the changes take effect in law.