The Graduate Visa will open for applications from overseas students in the UK on 1 July 2021. The Home Office hopes that this new immigration route will help the UK labour market to retaining the brightest international students.
The Graduate visa will offer several wonderful advantages for those that qualify. Overseas students, who have finished their studies, and qualify for the visa, will be able to stay in the UK for two years. During the two years, they will be able to work or look for work. The reasoning behind the graduate visa is that this time should allow graduates to find positions that will allow them to apply for the permanent immigration routes, such as the Skilled Worker visa.
The introduction of this new immigration route should also increase Student visa applications. Overseas students will now have an incentive to choose the UK as an education destination.
How to qualify for the Graduate Visa
Applicants will have to have a valid Student visa or Tier 4 Student visa at the time of application. Students who have graduated from the UK, but do not have a valid Student visa or Tier 4 Student visa at the time of the application, will not qualify.
The qualification must be a completed degree. Or other permitted qualification at an undergraduate level or above at Higher Education Provider. This education provider must have a track record of compliance.
Length of Stay
Applicants with a completed degree or permitted qualification can stay in the UK for two years. Graduates in doctoral studies will be able to stay in the UK for three years.
The best part of the Graduate visa is that there will be no work restrictions!
Applicants do not have to have a job offer, and they can work for any employer at any skills level. They can switch jobs and will have the complete work flexibility to develop their career.
Settlement in the UK
The Graduate visa is only a temporary visa, and it is not possible to extend the visa. It also does not lead to settlement in the UK.
However, the Home Office is confident that during the time in the UK, holders of the visa should find work that will enable them to move into other work-based immigration routes. Such as the Skilled Worker route. Moving to these routes will allow applicants to settle in the UK eventually.
Covid Concessions for the Graduate Visa route
The Home Office has put concessions in place for students who cannot travel to the UK due to Covid. These concessions will allow overseas students who are distance learning to qualify for the Graduate visa.
The following concessions for overseas students apply:
- Students who began their studies in Autumn 2020 will have time 21 June 2021 to enter the UK to be eligible for the Graduate visa.
- Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by 27 September 2021.
How Breytenbachs can help
The Graduate visa offers an excellent opportunity for overseas students looking to further their careers in the UK. Although the route will only open for applications on 1 July 2021, students are welcome to contact Breytenbachs in the meantime. We have a dedicated team of experts who deal with Student visas and related immigration routes.