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This information will be updated monthly with news and updates for international students.

Any questions, please contact the ISA team:

We are also available for in-person sessions at the Student Hub in the Charles Seale-Hayne Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 09:30–10:30 (no need to book).

Latest immigration news

Students bringing dependants to the UK
For courses starting from 1 January 2024 onwards, students will no longer be able to bring dependants to the UK except for those who are: 
  • Studying for a course of study which the provider has confirmed is a PhD, other doctoral qualification, or a research-based higher degree 
  • Financially sponsored by the UK or an overseas government 
Undergraduate students are not normally permitted to bring dependants, and this has not changed.
The following questions and answers have been provided by the Home Office and are correct as of 10 August 2023:

What do you mean by postgraduate research?
A research-based higher degree means a postgraduate programme comprising a research component (including a requirement to produce original work) that is larger than any accompanying taught component when measured by student effort. 

Will students on professional doctorates be able to bring dependants?
Students who hold permission for a course of study which the provider has confirmed is a PhD, other doctoral qualification, or a research-based higher degree will be able to bring dependants. 

What about two-year integrated programmes with an integrated premaster and research master programme?
These students will still be able to bring dependants. The course level on the CAS must reflect the exit qualification. 

Can dependants of students who have started their course in autumn 2023 come into the UK after January 2024?
The changes will affect students who are starting their courses from 1 January 2024 onwards. These changes will not affect dependants of overseas students where the student is already in the UK on their course of study. Those starting a taught postgraduate course in the autumn will still be able to have dependants join them after January 2024 (where the other requirements of the rules are met). 

Can dependants extend their permission to stay in the UK if the student needs more time to complete their course, but the course no is no longer eligible for dependants? 
Dependants who are already in the UK can extend their immigration permission if the main applicant is granted further leave to remain under the student route.

What about children of Student visa holders born in the UK after the rules changes?
In line with current rules, students are able to regularise the status of their child as their dependant where the child is born in the UK during the last/current grant of permission, and this has not changed. 

Will there be a concession for disabled students to be able to bring carers?
There are currently no concessions for disabled students to bring carers and this will continue to be the case.

Is the graduate route impacted by these changes?
There is no change to the graduate route. Dependants already in the UK as a student dependant may apply as a dependant of a graduate at the same time as the applicant.
Changing from a Student visa to another visa (e.g., a Skilled Worker visa)
Students will no longer be able to change their visa until they have completed their course. The only exception is for PhD students, who will be permitted to change their immigration permission to a Skilled Worker visa after they have completed 24 months towards their PhD.
The following questions and answers have been provided by the Home Office and are correct as of 10 August 2023:

When will the changes take effect?
When the immigration rules are laid on 17 July 2023. 

Why are you stopping students changing to the Skilled Worker visa part way through their course?
The main purpose of the Student visa is to enable applicants to undertake a course of study within the UK. We want to ensure that applicants are coming to the UK to study rather than to work. There are other options available for those whose primary focus is to work.

What if I have submitted an application to change visa before the rules change?
Applications made before the changes will be assessed under the rules in force at the date of application.

When can a student change their permission to a Skilled Worker visa? 
  • Students must reach the end of their course before they are permitted to change their permission to a Skilled Worker visa. The start date on the student's Certificate of Sponsorship for the Skiller Worker visa must be no earlier than their course completion date. Students can apply to change visa up to 3 months before their Certificate of Sponsorship start date. 
  • PhD students will be permitted to change their permission to a Skilled Worker visa after they have completed 24 months towards their PhD. 
How will you define "course completion" in this context?
Caseworkers will check the course completion date entered on the CAS. Students do not need to have received their final award as long as they have not had their sponsorship withdrawn before the course end date. 

Can a student change their permission to a Skilled Worker visa if they complete their course early?
Yes. Where a student has completed their course early, it is the student's sponsor's responsibility to report early completion to UKVI through the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) within 10 days. If they have not done this, we will consider any information the applicant has provided, and we may contact them to give them the opportunity to provide further information, but this may lead to their application being delayed or rejected.
If you have any questions about changing your immigration permission, please contact us although we may need to refer you to an external independent immigration advisor.
Ukraine immigration schemes
On 29 March, the UK Government published legislation that brings into force three schemes to support Ukrainian nationals and their families:
  • Ukraine Extension Scheme for people who are already in the UK
  • Homes for Ukraine for people who are outside the UK
  • Family scheme for people inside and outside the UK
Full details on the Ukraine immigration schemes can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website. The University ISA team is unable to offer specific advice on these schemes but will certainly try to guide and support you.
Reminder of working conditions as a Student Visa holder
It is a great idea to work part-time alongside your studies if you want to improve your spoken English, gain confidence and earn a few pounds spending money. 
It is also a great idea to refresh your mind on the conditions and restrictions of your Student visa. We are here to help you understand these restrictions so you don’t accidentally break the rules.
If you are studying at degree level, you will have a maximum number of hours you can work during term-time – usually 20 hours per week – but please check your visa.
If you work more than 20 hours in any one week during term time, you will be breaching your visa conditions and this could prevent you from obtaining a new visa in the future or completing your studies.
If you are a postgraduate taught student, the dissertation period is not a holiday period and you are expected to be working on your dissertation and meeting your dissertation supervisor regularly. In the dissertation period, your term-time working restrictions still apply and you must not work full-time.
There has been a rise in instances of international students being strongly encouraged to work more than the hours permitted. Please do not feel pressured into this. Contact us as soon as you can if you are being asked to do something which you feel is wrong. We are here to support you and you can speak to us in confidence.
Graduate visa Zoom information sessions
Are you thinking about working in the UK after you have successfully completed your degree at the University of Plymouth? Do you want to find out more about the Graduate Visa?
If yes, we are running online information sessions which are bookable at myCareer – sign in with your student log in and then type in ‘Let’s talk about the Graduate Visa’ in the search box. 
Changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme
For applications made on or after 29 June 2023, the following changes apply:
  • The age range for New Zealand nationals who are eligible for the scheme is increasing to 18–35.
  • The length of stay for New Zealand nationals is increasing to three years.
New Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs)
From October 2023, the UK will gradually start to require certain visitors to the UK to obtain Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs) before travelling to the UK. This will start with only a few nationalities and the scheme will be expanded over time. Those applying for Student visas will not need an ETA. We will update this information to reflect these changes soon.