2023 Wrapped: Recap of Travel and Immigration Updates

2023 has been a year, I bet you will agree. 

From visa regulations to changes in entry requirements, this recap will provide you with valuable insights into what lies ahead in the exciting world of immigration and travel. Whether you’re a globetrotter or someone seeking information about upcoming trips, sit back and let us be your trusted guide as we navigate through these dynamic times together.

In 2023, several significant immigration policy changes were implemented in Canada, the UK, and Australia. Here are some of the key developments:


  • Canada plans to welcome 485,000 permanent residents in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025, with stabilization of PR levels at 500,000 starting in 2026. From the 485,000 PR, 109,020 would be highly skilled workers.
  • Changes in the cost of living for students, including impact on net migration and visas granted to dependents of sponsored students
  • IRCC increased the proof of funds requirement for international students from $10,000 to $20,635, excluding tuition and travel costs. Minister Miller announced three other temporary policies affecting international students that would expire at the end of 2023.
  • Tightening immigration regulations, with a focus on skilled migration and higher standards for international students

United Kingdom

  • The UK government announced changes to the immigration system, including a plan to slash migration levels and curb abuse of the immigration system, which may impact international students and migration levels.
  • Aspiring travelers and immigrants should keep an eye on how these changes unfold as the UK reshapes its immigration system to strike a balance between welcoming newcomers and maintaining national interests.

UK’s five-point plan

  1. Dependency Restrictions for Social Care Workers

Social care workers will no longer be permitted to bring dependants (partners and children) on their visas.

  1. Salary Adjustments for Skilled Worker Visas

The baseline minimum salary required for sponsorship on a Skilled Worker visa will increase from £26,200 to £38,700. (Note: Health and Care Worker visa, which includes social care and education workers on national pay scales, are exempt from this increase.)

  1. Changes to the Shortage Occupation List

Significant modifications to the shortage occupation list will be implemented, leading to a substantial reduction in the number of jobs eligible for sponsorship of overseas workers below the baseline minimum salary.

  1. Increasing Minimum Income for Spouse/Partner Visas

The minimum income necessary to sponsor someone for a spouse/partner visa will undergo a phased increase, starting from £18,600 and gradually rising to £29,000, eventually reaching around £38,700.

  1. Review of Graduate Visa by Migration Advisory Committee

The Migration Advisory Committee will conduct a comprehensive review of the Graduate visa, a two-year unsponsored work permit designed for overseas graduates of British universities.


  • The Australian government designed the 2023–24 permanent Migration Programme, focusing on targeted skilled migration and higher standards for international students
  • The new 10-year migration strategy aims to use a longer-term evidence-based approach to planning migration, with a focus on skills needs, worker mobility, and system-wide simplification of immigration processes. Read more here
  • The introduction of a new Ministerial Direction to prioritize student visa processing demonstrates Australia’s commitment to attracting and retaining top-tier international talent. 

For those looking for immigration via the study route, Australia might be the new Canada.

Visa Requirements

In 2023, several countries made changes to their entry and visa requirements. Some of the notable changes include:

  • China has recently removed all COVID-19 restrictions and resumed visa services. The China Customs Authority has announced that completing the Entry/Exit Health Declaration Card is no longer mandatory for individuals entering or leaving the country.
  • Several African nations, including Rwanda, Benin, The Gambia, and Seychelles, have waived visa requirements for fellow African travelers. This move aims to facilitate smoother cross-border travel, stimulate trade and investment, and promote regional integration. Additionally, Kenya is poised to join this group in January 2024. Read more here.
  • In Europe, a new travel authorization system called ETIAS  (European Travel Information and Authorization System) has been introduced starting in 2023. Travelers from visa-exempt countries, including the United States, are now required to obtain ETIAS before visiting European countries like Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, and others.

In summary, the immigration updates of 2023 reveal a collective shift towards targeted skilled migration, heightened standards for international students, and a focus on long-term planning and sustainability. As you plan your immigration journey, it’s essential to stay informed about these changes and seek guidance from official sources.

For your visa needs and immigration advice, you can contact us here.

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