Graduate Route visa allows international students to stay and work in the UK for 2 years after graduation

The new Graduate Route visa allows UK international students to apply to live and work in the country two years after their graduation period, the UK government has announced.

Applications for the said visa have officially opened last July 1. The rules apply to both bachelor’s and master’s degree holders of all nationalities in all fields, starting from students who are set to graduate in summer 2021 and onwards.

Doctoral international students, on the other hand, will be able to work in the UK for up to three years.

What is the Graduate Route visa?

The Graduate Route is part of UK’s new points-based immigration system and global talent scheme. It is available to anyone who graduates from a UK degree with a valid visa (Tier 4 or Student Route) on or after 1 July 2021.

UK hopes to increase opportunities for international graduates who want to work in the UK. They also aim to welcome some 600,000 international students by 2030.

“This [new route] will give a competitive offer to some of the brightest minds from across the world who bring huge benefits to university campuses and local communities and can help to build the economy,” Universities UK Chief Executive Alistair Jarvis stated.

The Graduate Route is available to anyone who graduates from a UK degree with a valid visa (Tier 4 or Student Route) on or after 1 July 2021. | Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Through this opportunity, international students do not need an employer sponsorship to be eligible for the visa. Consequently, they do not need to secure a job position before applying.

During this time, the new graduates have the freedom to kick-start their careers by looking for positions related to their degrees or gaining relevant experience in other areas. There are restrictions on job types and minimum salary requirements.

COVID concessions until April 2022 for international students

UK Minister for Immigration Kevin Foster confirmed that COVID concessions on visa rules around a requirement to be in the UK to study will be extended to April 6, 2022.

With this, arriving international students can study remotely via blended or distance learning, if mandated by health and visa protocols. However, they will still be eligible for work rights after their international student graduation.

Arriving international students can study remotely via blended or distance learning. | Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Moreover, Foster assured that the UK government and immigration department is determined to support international students.

“[The Graduate Route] represents one of the most significant overhauls of this country’s approach to immigration in decades,” he said. “And we are determined to use the new system to attract global talent.”

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