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Graduate Visa Route

The new Graduate visa route is for International students who wish to remain in the United Kingdom (‘UK’) in order to seek employment following the successful completion of their studies in the UK.

The Graduate visa route will open for applications from 1 July 2021.

What are the key requirements to be eligible for the Graduate visa?

To be eligible for the Graduate visa, you must be awarded a total of 70 points based on the following:

  • Must have ‘successfully completed a course’ with a higher education provider with a track record of compliance;
  • Meet the ‘qualification’ requirement; and
  • Meet the ‘Study in the UK’ requirement

‘Successful completion of a course’ requirement

From the outset, you would be required to establish that you were sponsored by a higher education provider with a track record of compliance during the last grant of your student visa.

You would also be required to have successfully completed the course of study which was undertaken during your last grant of permission to study on the student visa route.

Your ‘higher education provider’ would also be required to have notified
UK Visas & Immigration (‘UKVI’) by the date of your Graduate visa application, that you have successfully completed the course of study.

‘Qualification’ requirement

You will meet the ‘qualification’ requirement if you have successfully completed a course of study for which you have been, or will be awarded a ‘UK bachelor’s degree’ or a ‘UK postgraduate degree’.

The qualification must also have been gained during your last grant of permission as a student.

‘Study in the UK’ requirement

You must have studied in the UK for a minimum period of the course for which you were last granted permission to study on the student visa route.

The relevant period is explained in the table below:

Total length of Course Relevant period of Student permission granted during which all study took place in the UK (apart from permitted study abroad programmes)
12 months of less Full duration of course
Longer than 12 months At least 12 months

Due to Coronavirus (‘COVID’19’), if you were required to conduct distance learning overseas between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, this will not prevent you from meeting the requirement of having studied in the UK if:

  • You commenced your course in 2020 and entered the UK on or before 21 June 2021. You would also be required to have completed the course of study in the UK with permission as a student; or
  • You begun your course in 2021 and entered the UK before 27 September 2021. You would also be required to have completed the course of study in the UK with permission as a student.

Therefore, any period of distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 in relation to a course of study lasting longer than 12 months, will not prevent you from meeting the ‘study in the UK’ requirements if you were affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions.

How long can you remain in the UK on a Graduate visa route?

If you have completed your studies in relation to a PhD or a doctoral
qualification, you will be granted permission to stay in the UK for 3 years.

All other qualifications in the UK as a student will give you permission to stay in the UK for 2 years.

Can my dependents remain with me or join me in the UK?

Only partners and children who are already in the UK as student dependants will be eligible to stay with you in the UK.

Your family member/s must be in the UK on the date of application and must:

  • have, or have last been granted permission to enter the UK as your dependant partner/child on the basis of your student visa, and you are applying for, and has been granted permission to stay in the Graduate visa route; or
  • be a child born in the UK during the last grant of your student visa and you are now applying for, or has now been granted, permission to stay in the Graduate route.

Will the Graduate visa route require a sponsor to work in the UK?

Unlike the skilled worker route, the advantage of the Graduate visa route is applicants will not be required to be sponsored in order to work in the UK.

As a result, this will hopefully be beneficial to both applicants and sponsors.

Does the Graduate visa route lead to settlement in the UK?

The Graduate visa route will not lead to settlement in the UK. However, the Graduate visa will permit you to switch into the skilled worker category which could ultimately lead to settlement in the UK.

How we can help?

Our immigration experts at Cartwright King Solicitors have substantial experience and knowledge in advising both students and prospective employers.

If you require further advice in relation to a Graduate visa, please contact our business immigration expert, Mr Mohammed Hafejee, or contact us here and one of our lawyers from our Immigration team will contact you.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.