Immigation news – The Graduate Route

April 10, 2020

The Graduate route is a new work visa for those who have a degree or other relevant qualifications from an approved UK Higher Education provider. Applications opened on 1 July 2021.

We set out the main points of the Graduate Route and the relevant concessions for international students who have unable to travel to the UK due to Covid-19.

  • The Graduate Route will be available to international students who have a valid student visa at the time of application and have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance.
  • Applicants must hold valid Student (Tier 4) visa at the time of application.
  • Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years if they have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree. PhD graduates will be able to stay for three years.
  • The Graduate route is an unsponsored route, meaning you do not need a job offer to apply for the route. You will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop your career in the UK as required.
  • Any eligible student who graduates after 01 July 2021 will be able to apply for the route. This includes students who have already started their courses.
  • The Graduate Route will require a new visa application, which will only be possible from inside the UK. Any applications from outside the UK will be rejected.
  • Applicants are not required to show funds or finance, and do not need to demonstrate English language ability when applying, as they will have already proved English language ability by successfully completing their degree at a UK university.
  • It will include the payment of a visa fee of £700 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year.
  • Students will need the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from their current Student (or Tier 4) visa to apply under this route.
  • Dependants already in the UK as a Student dependant may apply as a dependant of a Graduate at the same time the Graduate applies to the route

COVID-19 Concessions:

Students will normally be expected to undertake their studies in the UK to be eligible for the Graduate route. However, if students are required to continue their current studies or commence a new course by distance learning from overseas due to Covid-19, they will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route if they meet the other requirements of the route.

The Home Office published a guidance on 2 July 2021, setting out temporary policy concessions for students in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • If you started a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or Jan 2021 and have not previously entered the UK to study that course, you must enter the UK on a Student Visa on or before 27 September 2021, or before your visa expires (whichever is sooner) in order to be eligible.
  • If you began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 and have existing permission as a Student (including those on a Tier 4 visa) to study that course, and have already travelled to the UK during that period of permission, you will be eligible to apply for the Graduate visa provided you return to the UK before the end date of your current visa.
  • If you’re studying remotely on a course which is longer than 12 months, you must return to the UK before your Student or Tier 4 visa expires. You will not be prevented from being eligible for the route as a result of any distance learning outside the UK between 24 January 2020 and 6 April 2022.
  • If you’re on an articulated degree and only sponsored under the student route for 12 months, you will be treated as being on a course of less than 12 months, even if your degree course is over 12 months. You should follow the deadlines for students on courses of less than 12 months.
  • If you start a course in September 2021 or January 2022, you will need to be in the UK by 6 April 2022*

* Please note that these deadlines are subject to change.

For information on the Graduate Route, please feel free to contact our Immigration Team for further assistance. 

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