Further details have now been released regarding the government’s plans for a new post-study work visa. However, we note that there is no currently no legislation in place to back up the plans and therefore they may be subject to change, particularly in light of the forthcoming General Election.

The Graduate Immigration Route would be launched in the summer of 2021. It will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance. Students who are already in the UK will be eligible, providing they complete their degree-level course at a qualifying institution in the summer of 2021 or thereafter. The student must have valid Tier 4 leave at the time of application.

Applicants will be required to pay a visa application fee and the immigration health surcharge on application but the exact fees are set to be released in due course.

Successful applicants will be able to stay and work (or look for work) in the UK at any skill level for a maximum of two years. The route however will not count towards settlement but graduates who find an “appropriate job” will be able to switch into skilled work.

Appropriate work is likely to be Tier 2 General employment, or whatever the equivalent will be in January 2021 when the new Immigration Rules come into force.

When asked why the route cannot be introduced earlier, the Home Office advised that it takes time to develop a new route and “ensure the framework is in place for it to successfully operate”. However it is disappointing that students graduating before summer 2021 will not be able to enjoy the opportunities offered by this route.

This article is from the November 2019 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals.