Are you looking to get a Graduate Visa?
For many international students who have recently completed their undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, thoughts will turn to what can come next. Many will want to jump straight into a career that meets their passions, while others will want to continue studying as part of a postgraduate degree. The world is open to so many different options, and the last thing that international students want to then happen is feel restricted by their visa requirements. Graduate Visa can be the answer you are looking for.
The good news, however, is that getting a graduate visa doesn’t have to feel like a burdensome or heavily bureaucratic process. The UK government recognised the benefits of international students staying in the UK after their studies and created the ‘Graduate Immigration Route’, which is also referred to as the “Post Study Work Visa”
What is the Graduate Immigration Route?
This flagship piece of legislation was created by the UK government with the hopes of presenting the country as being an attractive place for foreign students to live and work, bringing both their knowledge, culture, languages and experiences to the thriving UK population.
It is a two-year visa that allows eligible graduates to remain in the UK without any restrictions for two years in order to work.
Many will recognise similarities with this visa and the former Tier 1 route, known as ‘Post Study Worker’, which ended in 2012. It also provides a clear route for how students can remain in the UK now that the country has officially left the EU.
Who is eligible for this Graduate Immigration Visa?
If you are an international student or EU national and will be graduating from a UK university in Summer 2021 or beyond this, then you are eligible to pursue the Post Study Work visa option.
It is only available to graduates who were previously granted a Tier 4 (General) student visa or Student Visa by an authorised education provider that has a ‘track record of compliance’. This visa must still be valid in Summer 2021.
The graduates should have studied a degree level course or above, meaning either an undergraduate bachelor’s degree or a postgraduate master’s degree. Those who have studied for a PhD are also eligible for this scheme.
What happens after the two years?
The Graduate Visa only allows an international student to work in the UK for two years. After this time, you would need to apply for a Skilled Migrant Worker via sponsorship which can help you to stay within the UK for a much longer time period. If you want to travel back to your home country, or another country within the world, you are also free to do so should you wish.
Will I have to pay for a Graduate Immigration Visa?
Yes, there will be costs associated with applying for a Graduate Immigration Visa. There will be application fees to consider, as well as an ‘Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)’
Can a Graduate Immigration Visa be extended?
No, a Graduate Immigration Visa cannot be extended after the two years. If the individual wishes to remain in the UK, they will need to seek out a different visa.
This may include a Skilled worker visa, a Global Talent visa, a Skilled Migrant Worker visa or a Family visa There is also the option of a Start-Up or Innovator visa.
It may feel complicated needing to switch routes, but after two years of working in the UK, it is likely you will have found an employer who may wish to help you with the visa application process to ensure they can retain you. It will not be possible for you to indefinitely remain in the UK unless you change your visa.
Can you bring a spouse or child to the UK on a Graduate Immigration Visa?
Watch this space for further information as this has not yet been finalised by the Home Office.
Will my university need to sponsor me?
Initial indications from the Home Office have suggested that it will not be necessary for a university to sponsor someone who wishes to go down the Graduate Immigration Visa route. This is currently the case for those who are applying for a Doctorate Extension Scheme, but this doesn’t seem to be applied to anyone specifically looking to take on a Graduate Visa to start working in the UK.
Summary of the Graduate Immigration Visa
1. This visa is for students who completed their degree course in the UK from Summer 2021 onwards
2. It allows the students to work full-time for two years in the UK
3. They can switch from this visa to other long-term visas from within the UK after the two years have ended
Get in touch
To find out more about how you can apply for a Graduate Immigration Visa, get in touch with a member of our team of expert Immigration Lawyers who can provide advice that can ensure you know exactly where you stand when it comes to living and working in the UK after your degree has ended.
We can speak to you in English, Turkish, Chinese, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Italian, and Malay so we can speak to you in your language, should you wish.