Adult dependents on a UK Ancestry Visa need to carefully consider their education and employment options while residing in the UK if they intend to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and UK Citizenship.
The dilemma is how to live a good life while remaining emotionally and financially dependent on your parents – the reason you’re allowed to stay in the UK – so that you can still qualify for UK Citizenship after a sometimes long, hard, six-year wait.
- If you get a full-time job and become financially independent, you no longer qualify to hold your UK Ancestry Visa (Dependent). You need to get a different visa that allows you to stay or you need to return to your non-EU home country (e.g. Australia).
- If you move out of the family home and become financially independent (even if somebody else is supporting you), or get married for example, then you also no longer qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa as you can’t prove you are emotionally or financially dependent.
Most adult dependents will need to continue living with their parents anyway, as the cost of living for many requires full-time employment (and probably two incomes) to maintain a household.
What do you do with yourself while you wait to qualify for UK Citizenship?
Generally, after you finish high school/S6 you get some kind of job that gives you some spending money to enjoy the country you have moved to. You will also want to cover entertainment costs and other desires that your parents may not be in a position to help you with. Yes. I’m talking about my own situation.
You may also want to continue with your studies at college or university to pursue the career of your dreams. You could also do some volunteer work. Or amateur theatre! There’s a lot of options and they’re all good for your CV. It all depends on your individual and family circumstances.
Studying at college or university in Scotland or the UK
If you are going to study, you will need to pay UK international student fees.
- College courses cost around £6,500 a year. Two years at college can set you back around £13,000 (around $22,000 AUD).
- University courses cost around £15,000 a year. A 3-year undergraduate degree will cost you around £45,000 (about $76,000 AUD).
How realistic is it for adult dependents on a UK Ancestry Visa to postpone their studies until they are UK citizens?
According to my interpretation of the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) – keeping in mind I am just a blogger and you should not rely on my blog post – former UK Ancestry Visa holders may qualify for subsidised or free tertiary education if they meet certain eligibility criteria.
- If you become a UK Citizen after six years on a UK Ancestry Visa, you have demonstrated to the UK Government that you have lived in the UK for at least the last three years.
- Then, if you usually live in Scotland (say for at least one year), you only have to pay the basic Scottish tuition fees of £1,820 a year; a total of £5,460 for a 3-year degree.
- Better yet, if you are eligible, it could be free!
Qualifying for subsidised or free college/university studies in Scotland
To qualify for subsidised, full-time undergraduate studies; before the start of the academic year (usually 1 August) – you must:
- Be a UK national (i.e. have obtained UK Citizenship)
- Be under 25 years of age
- Not be married, in a civil partnership or living with a partner
- Not have any dependent children
- Have not supported yourself from earnings outside full-time education during the previous three years
- Not have completed a higher education course previously (e.g. after high school/S6).
- So if you previously study a full-time higher education course at the HNC, HND or degree level, you won’t be eligible.
Then, you must:
- Study a satisfactory course (e.g. first degree course)
- Meet residence criteria by being ordinarily resident in Scotland when you start your studies – as well as have lived in the UK for the previous three years.
- You also need to apply for funding in every year of your course.
Studying in Scotland is cheaper than studying in the UK
You will save lots of money studying in Scotland.
- If you are a UK Citizen living in Scotland, tuition fees for most Scottish undergraduate degrees cost £1,820+ per academic year.
You will save lots of £ if you are eligible for funding assistance.
- If you want to study in the rest of the UK, you’re looking at £9,000+ per academic year.
Even if you don’t qualify for funding, you may still be eligible to apply for a student loan.
In Scotland, you can apply for a loan whether you are dependent on your parents/partner or independent.
- You can borrow between £4,750 and £6,750 depending on your circumstances.
- The loan is paid via monthly instalments into your bank account.
- You start repaying the loan from the April after you graduate/leave your studies.
- The amount you pay is 9% of your annual income (including your partner’s if you live together) over £17,495.
- Interest is also payable in line with the retail price index (RPI), similar to Australia’s consumer price index (CPI); linked to increases in the cost of living.
- So if you’re earning £20,000, your monthly payment will be about £19.
How higher education costs in Scotland compare to Australia
In Australia, domestic students contribute about $6,349 a year towards their performing arts degree. That’s about $19,000 for a 3-year degree – about £11,000.
Case study: Adult Dependent UK Ancestry Visa holder
Arrive on UK Ancestry Visa in September 2016
- Graduate from high school (S6) in June 2017 – aged 18 yrs
- IMPORTANT: If you want to qualify free or cheaper tertiary / post-secondary education in Scotland – and you’re not in a hurry to incur a study debt – do not study after high school until you have your UK citizenship.
- Eligible for ILR in September 2021 – aged 22 yrs
- Eligible for UK Citizenship in September 2022 – aged 23
- In April 2023 – aged 24 – eligible for free or cheaper tertiary education 🙂
Save £5,000 to £45,000 in college/university fees.
Aussies studying in Scotland
If you are an Australian interested in studying in Scotland, read about UK Student Visas.
Share your experience
- If you’ve been through this already or have some good insights, please share in the comments below.
- If you have any questions that I haven’t answered, ask away. I’ll do my best to try and find an answer and add it the post.