As we set out in an earlier article, a new immigration route for graduates was announced on 11 September 2019. The Graduate Immigration Route will enable international students to work in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies.
While the Graduate Immigration Route is not yet open, some further details about the route have been provided.
When will the Graduate Immigration Route open?
The new post-study work route for graduates will be launched in the summer of 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply for the route.
Who is eligible for the Graduate Immigration Route?
The Graduate Immigration Route 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 and who have a valid Tier 4 visa at the time of application.
Any student who successfully completes their degree-level course at a qualifying institution in the summer of 2021 or after will be eligible. This includes students who are already studying. Those whose Tier 4 leave expires before the route is introduced will not be eligible for it, and have to apply under the existing routes.
Graduate visa requirements
A new application process will be set up for the Graduate Visa Route, but it is not yet clear exactly what this application will entail.
As set out above, any student who successfully completes their degree-level course at a qualifying institution in the summer of 2021 or after will be eligible to apply for the new graduate post-study work route, however, without any published Immigration Rules or Guidance, it is difficult to speculate on what further requirements there will be. Further information will be published on our site once we know more.
Applicants will not need a sponsor to apply under the Graduate Immigration Route.
The application will include an application fee and applicants will be required to pay the immigration health surcharge. The exact fee has not been announced yet.
Will the Graduate Post-Study Work Route lead to settlement?
The route will be non-extendable and will not count towards settlement. However, graduates who find an appropriate job may be able to switch into the Tier 2 category or may wish to consider other options such as the innovator or start-up routes.
If, following spent time on the graduate immigration route, the applicant has been in the UK for 10 years with continuous lawful residence, they may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain on this basis.