Will I need a Student Visa in 2024

Written By

Think Postgrad

Frequently Asked Questions

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Our annual update to the student visa story includes some important answers to the question: will I need a student visa in 2024? If you want to continue the search for a masters course in the UK, then please read on.

The UK as a study destination

The UK is a very popular location to study and work. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a fall in applications but in reality many international students resumed their studies as soon as they could.

During this period the UK Government facilitated applications from international students. It introduced new study and work visas for top performing candidates. In addition, they offered visas for the dependents of students. This enabled students to bring an immediate family member with them for the duration of their studies.

Up to the summer of 2022 the net migration figure had reached 745,000, increasing from 184,000 in 2019.

In reaction to the increased numbers, the Government introduced changes to the availability of a student visa in 2024. These changes came into effect in January this year.

Recent visa changes

Dependent visas are now limited to PhD students only. This change was announced in May last year. In December 2023 a new salary threshold for a Skilled Worker visa attracted a lot of media attention. It is primarily designed for applicants for work, but it also allows you to study at the same time.

This option affects international study because entitled eligible students (those in a position to take up an offer of work in the UK) require a higher salary than previously.

From April 2024 the salary threshold required to meet the terms of the visa is rising to £29,000 a year. This figure is slightly lower than the amount initially announced at the start of December 2023.

Will I need a visa in 2024 to study and stay in the UK?

The Student Route Visa is part of the UK visas and immigration’s points based system for students who wish to study in the UK. To make a successful application you must meet the full requirements of the immigration rules and achieve 70 points.

  • 50 points = Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies

Your CAS or Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies is issued by the university admitting you. It shows you have met the course requirement, approved qualification requirement, level of study requirement, and place of study requirement

  • 10 points = Financial requirement (e.g. tuition fees, living costs etc)

Unless you are from a country that doesn’t exempt you from providing documentary evidence, you must be able to show that you have the required money to cover the costs of your tuition, accommodation and maintenance (living costs) in the UK.

  • 10 points = English language proficiency ( e.g. IELTS qualification)

Students who are not coming from a majority English-speaking country and who are entering a University for degree level study need to provide evidence that they are proficient in English to the level of CEFR B2 (for example, IELTS 5.5 in each of the four components). There are exceptions, depending on the type of course and your evidence.

Graduate route to a student visa – study and work

The Graduate Route is specifically designed for postgraduate level study in the UK. It entitles the student to stay between 2 years and 3 years depending on your postgraduate studies. Details of the scheme are fully explained on the Home Office website.

You can apply for a Graduate visa if all of the following are true:

  • you’re in the UK
  • your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • you studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • your education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office you’ve successfully completed your course. If you or your family member started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme.

Entry from the European Union

The aftermath of the UK’s exit from the EU led to a change of status for many students from the 27 countries. A scheme operated to allow entry to the UK based on the status of an individual that had a legitimate claim. This was based on settled or pre-settled status as a citizen of the UK.

Settled or Pre settled

The deadline for applications through this route closed in June 2021, but it is possible to make representations to be considered if you have ‘reasonable’ grounds. A number of complaints of unfair treatment have attracted press coverage. Responding to this resulted in updated guidance issued by the Home Office in January. The Lapsing Leave and Returning Residence changes should help individuals if they have cause for complaint.

High Potential Student Visas

Yet another scheme from the UK Government emerged in 2022. This system recognises the research and qualifications offered by a series of top performing international universities. This enables students with exceptional academic talent to study and work in the UK. It will maximise the prestige of their university qualifications.

…and the Global Talent Visa!

This is a yet another visa route that reached a milestone in December with around 5,000 successful applications. The Global Talent visa is specially designed to encourage high performing individuals seeking leadership positions. Our recent blog post explains the details of this additional pathway.

So will I need a student visa in 2024?

The answer to the question will I need a visa in 2024 is hopefully clear above. However despite a number of significant changes there remain routes open to applicants of all nationalities and status. Don’t be put off by the publicity – people in the UK warmly welcome international students to study, work and live in these islands.

Overseas Agents can be really helpful with processing your Study Visa, but always check with the admissions team for your university first. They will confirm any costs, and explain the details you will need.

Next steps

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