Graduate route to open for international students in the UK

The new graduate route launches on 1 July 2021. This will allow international students to remain in the UK to work. This route is very similar to the Post Study Worker visa route which the government abolished 10 years ago.

How will it work?

An applicant must have permission as either a Student or Tier 4 (General) Student to be eligible. International students will need to have successfully completed a UK bachelor’s degree or above with a UK higher education provider, with a track record of compliance.

The student’s university will need to notify the Home Office that the student has successfully completed the course of study before the graduate visa application can be made. The student must also have studied in the UK for the minimum period of the course. However, students who undertook distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 due to the pandemic will still be eligible to apply. Students who began their studies in 2020 will now have until the 21 June 2021 to enter the UK and students who began their studies in 2021 will need to be in the UK by 27 September 2021 in order to be eligible for the graduate route.

The graduate route is unsponsored so the applicant will not need a job offer to apply for the route. There will be no minimum salary requirements nor caps on numbers. Graduates will therefore, be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career in the UK.

A student can include a dependant partner in their application, provided their partner is in the UK and has last been granted permission as their dependant. New dependants will not be permitted, except where a dependant child was born in the UK.

Permission as a Graduate

A successful applicant will be granted permission to remain in the UK for two years or three years for Doctoral students. Applicants will be able to work full time or use this time to look for work.

The graduate route does not lead to settlement in the UK. However, a graduate can switch into the skilled worker route if suitable employment is found and the requirements of the skilled worker route are met.

The government believe the new graduate route will help the government to achieve the ambition set out in the International Education Strategy to increase the number of international students in higher education in the UK to 600,000 by 2030.

For advice on the graduate visa route, please contact Associate Partner Talitha Degwa at [email protected].