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What You Need to Know About the Upcoming UK Post-Study Work Visa

The word is out!

Last year, the United Kingdom (UK) announced that it will be launching its very own two-year post-study work visa. It is anticipated that students graduating in summer 2021 will be the first group eligible to take advantage of it. With its rich culture, history, and, most importantly, excellent universities, the UK has long been a popular destination for students wanting to study abroad. The news of this new Graduate Immigration Route makes it an even more attractive option for international students, especially those who dream of starting their careers in the UK and making it their permanent home.

While the full details of the Graduate Immigration Route are still forthcoming, we want to share what we know so far and how you can be among the very first to take advantage of it! Please note that this blog is for informational purposes only, and the information is subject to change.

Graduate Immigration Route Eligibility

Illustration of passport, visa, and airplane tickets

You will be eligible for the UK’s Graduate Immigration Route if you:

  • Earned a degree at the undergraduate level or above at a qualifying UK Higher Education Provider in summer 2021 or later
  • Have a track record of compliance
  • Have a valid Tier 4 student visa when you submit your application

Unfortunately, you will not be eligible if you graduate and your Tier 4 visa expires prior to the introduction of the Graduate Immigration Route.

Learn About: “UK Visas for International Students”

Distance Education

You may be wondering how starting or continuing your studies online through distance education in the 2020-2021 academic year will impact your eligibility for the Graduate Immigration Route. You will still be eligible as long as you:

  • Arrive in the UK no later than April 6, 2021
  • Complete your final semester in the UK 

However, according to the UK Home Office, “students will still need to have extant leave as a Tier 4 student when the new route launches in 2021 and meet other eligibility criteria to be eligible for the route.”

For the UK Home Office’s latest guidance on temporary concessions in response to COVID-19, please click here.

What You Can Do Under the Graduate Immigration Route

If you are approved for the Graduation Immigration Route, you can continue to live in the UK and work (or search for work) at any skill level for up to two years. If you are a PhD graduate, you can remain in the UK and work for up to three years.

Once you find a suitable job, you will be eligible to transfer to a skilled work visa.

Discover: “What International Students Need to Know About Studying in the UK”

Applying for the Graduate Immigration Route

If you meet all the requirements for the Graduate Immigration Route, you will need to submit a new application.

Your application fee will cover the cost of the:

The exact fee hasn’t been determined and will be announced at a later date.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Double decker bus illustrationThere has been a lot of excitement over the Graduate Immigration Route from prospective students and international students already studying in the UK. Here are answers to some of the most popular questions.

Am I still eligible if I began studying in the UK before the announcement of the Graduate Immigration Route?
Yes! You will be eligible for the Graduate Immigration Route as long as you have a valid Tier 4 student visa and graduate in summer 2021 or later.

Why won’t the Graduate Immigration Route launch sooner?
According to the UK Government, “It takes time to develop a new immigration route and ensure the framework is in place for it to successfully operate. Introducing the route in the summer of 2021 will mean that all students who graduate in the summer of 2021 or after will benefit, regardless of when they started their course.”

Does the Graduate Immigration Route count towards settlement in the UK?
No. According to the UK government, the Graduate Immigration Route is “non-extendable and does not count towards settlement. However, graduates who find an appropriate job and meet the requirements will be able to switch into skilled work, which is a route to settlement.”

ApplyBoard will continue to update you on further announcements to the UK’s Graduate Immigration Route!

Ready to go? Start exploring your options to study in in the UK on ApplyBoard!