UK Slams Door on Student Spouses: Visa Application Plunge 80%

The UK's immigration reforms are showing promise in reducing net migration. Stricter student visa rules and a higher salary threshold for skilled workers are leading to changes, but healthcare visa applications and graduate visa reviews remain ongoing.
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Recent immigration reforms in the United Kingdom have sparked significant changes in the landscape for international students and immigrants. With the Home Office releasing new data this week, the early effects of these policies are becoming apparent, marking a notable shift in visa applications and migration patterns.

Impact on International Students

The United Kingdom government’s overhaul of immigration and international student enrollment policies aims to achieve a reduction in the net migration rate.

One of the key changes introduced in January 2024 involves stricter regulations on student-dependent visas, leading to a staggering 80% decrease in applications compared to the same period in 2023.

Student and Dependent Visas

Under the updated visa policies, UK universities are imposing stricter restrictions on granting dependent visas. International students are now limited in their ability to enrol family members or dependents in postgraduate research programs funded by government subsidies.

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Moreover, measures preventing visa switching before course completion aim to curtail institutions from exploiting immigration avenues instead of providing quality education.

Health and Care Visa

The data also sheds light on the Health and Care visa, revealing a significant discrepancy between main applicants and dependents. While healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, and allied health workers can still bring dependents, recent government actions aim to address the disproportionate and unsustainable number of dependents in this category.

Crackdown on Worker Exploitation

In a bid to tackle worker exploitation and abuse within the care sector, care providers in England must now register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) if they act as sponsors for migrants.

The government has expressed concern over instances where care workers have been offered visas under false pretences, highlighting the need for regulatory measures to safeguard both migrants and British workers.

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Salary Threshold and Future Reforms

Furthermore, the recent increase in the salary threshold for skilled worker visas, from £26,200 to £38,700, is poised to impact future migration statistics.

Additionally, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has been tasked with reviewing the Graduate route for international students to prevent abuse and uphold the quality of UK higher education.

The replacement of the Shortage Occupation List with an Immigration Salary List aims to ensure migrants are paid on par with UK workers in shortage occupations.

The Road Ahead

While these early results are encouraging, the government acknowledges the need for further assessment. Future data releases will offer a clearer picture of the long-term effects of these reforms.

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Editorial Team: A dynamic group of experienced authors dedicated to delivering the latest in travel news and insights. Explore the world through their collective expertise.

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