– Only students on postgraduate courses currently designated as research programs, which includes PhD
students, will be able to bring dependents. Students doing Taught Masters will not be allowed to bring
– The graduate route, which allows international students to stay and work in the UK once they
graduate, remains unchanged.
– The changes will come into effect for students starting courses from January 2024, according to Sky
The UK government on Tuesday announced a new immigration policy targeted at overseas students,
including Indians, and their visa right to bring dependant family members to the country while enrolled
at a British institution. In a written statement to the House of Commons, UK Home Secretary Suella
Braverman said that only international students on postgraduate courses currently designated as
research programmes will be allowed to bring in their family members, including children and elderly
parents, as their dependants.
International students on UK taught master’s courses will be banned from bringing family members with
them as dependants, the government confirmed today.
The move is a temporary measure while the government finalises an “alternative approach” which it
says will ensure “the best and the brightest students can bring dependants to our world leading
universities, while continuing to reduce net migration”.
The package will also remove the ability for international students to switch out of the student route
and into work routes before their studies have been completed "to prevent misuse of the visa system",
the government said.
The minister said the new package of measures was necessary after it emerged that 136,000 visas were
granted to dependants of sponsored students in 2022 – a more than eight-fold increase from 16,000 in
“This package includes: removing the right for international students to bring dependants unless they
are on postgraduate courses currently designated as research programmes,” she noted.
Research released last week found that international students contributed £41.9 billion to the UK’s
economy in the academic year 2021/22.
In a written statement, Braverman said, “The International Education Strategy plays an important part in
supporting the economy through the economic contribution students can bring to the UK, but this
should not be at the expense of our commitment to the public to lower overall migration and ensure
that migration to the UK is highly skilled and therefore provides the most benefit.”
Options for international students
New Zealand currently is one best choice for postgraduate students wanting to move overseas with
family. New Zealand offers visas rights to dependent family while studying a Masters course at level 9
and above, including Taught Masters. Moreover, the spouse is given full work rights during the study
and stay back period of 3 years of the student.