Student update: changes to the Immigration Rules, December 2023

18 December 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 December 2023. The changes won’t take effect until the dates outlined below.

Visitor route

For applications made on or after 28 December 2023, EU/EEA/Swiss national children who are aged 18 and under, studying at a school in France, and are on an organised educational trip will be able to enter the UK using their national identity cards and will not require a passport or visa for entry (visa national children on the same trip will be able to enter without a visa, but will require a passport).

For decisions made on or after 31 January 2024, the ‘Permitted Paid Engagement’ route will become part of the Standard Visitor route. This means permission will be granted for six months rather than one month. The relevant permitted paid engagement must be completed within one month of the Visitor’s arrival to the UK.

A new permitted paid engagement is being added for “a speaker coming to the UK to give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches, where they have been invited to a conference or other event”.

Academics, scientists and researchers may "collaborate", which replaces the previous more restrictive activity to "share knowledge or advise on an international project that is being led from the UK, provided the Visitor is not carrying out research in the UK".

Visitors may work remotely for an overseas employer, but this must not be the primary purpose for their visit to the UK.

Youth Mobility Scheme

For applications on or after 31 January 2024, nationals of Uruguay will be eligible to apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa, and the eligible age range for nationals of Australia, Canada, and the Republic of Korea will be extended to 35 years old.

Other work routes

For applications on or after 31 January 2024, those on a Student visa studying a PhD programme must have completed 24 months of study on that programme before being eligible to switch into the Innovator Founder route as a lead applicant or dependant.

UKCISA would like to highlight that this statement of changes did not make any changes to the Skilled Worker salary thresholds or the Graduate route. The recent government announcements have not yet been outlined in a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules.

Cross-cutting change relating to validity of immigration applications

Paragraphs concerned with validity have been reworded across a range of work routes 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 31 January 2024.


For decisions on or after 31 January 2024, the term ‘partner’ is redefined. Unmarried partners must have been in a “relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for at least two years”. There will no longer be a requirement to have been living together.

EU Settlement Scheme

The statement of changes made changes to the EU Settlement Scheme that will take effect as of 16 January 2024. For more detail on these changes, please review the Explanatory Memorandum of the statement of changes.

Other changes (outside of the statement of changes)

If you require a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to obtain a Student visa for the UK, two new tests have been added to UKVI’s approved SELT list. The LanguageCert Academic SELT and the LanguageCert General SELT are approved tests when taken either inside or outside the UK. These tests were approved on 18 December 2023.


All other changes are explained in the Explanatory Memorandum of the statement of changes to the Immigration Rules.

UKCISA members can read our pending update item in the UKCISA Manual, which cross-refers to relevant parts of the manual affected by these changes. We aim to update this no later than two weeks after the changes take effect in law.