The UK Government as part of its commitment to attract the brightest and the best students to the UK has set out a new route to promote this and remain competitive internationally. The graduate immigration route opened to international students on 01 July 2021 and is available to those who complete an undergraduate degree or above.
Graduate Immigration Eligibility Requirements
Those who wish to extend their stay in the United Kingdom via the Graduate Post Study Visa route, must:
- Be in the UK at the time of application
- Hold a Student Visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- Have studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree, or another eligible course for a minimum period of time with their Student visa or Tier 4(General) student visa
- Have successfully completed that course
The type of course undertaken, its duration, and the education provider will also need to meet specific requirements to be recognized as a valid pathway to obtain the post-study visa.
General UK Degrees, from Bachelors to PhDs are all eligible courses under the Graduate Post Study Visa route. Additionally recognized courses are:
- a law conversion course approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
- the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
- the Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland
- a foundation program in medicine or dentistry
- a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
- a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
Dependants and family
Only partners and children will be considered as dependants under the graduate route.
If your partner and children joined you in the UK as ‘dependents’ on your current Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa, they can apply to stay as dependants on your Graduate visa.
If your child was born in the UK during your current Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa, they can also apply.
If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours
Applying to the Graduate route
You can apply to the Graduate route once your university has sent you your final course results, but not before this. Your university also needs to confirm you have successfully completed your course before your application is considered. You do not have to wait until you have graduated to apply. You must be in the UK when you apply.
Those who apply from outside of the UK will be rejected and refused entry to the UK and could lose their eligibility to apply for the Graduate route as a whole. In addition, application fees may not be refunded.
You should not leave the UK or Common Travel Area whilst you are waiting for a decision on your application. Doing so may affect your eligibility for the Graduate route and result in you being unable to re-enter the UK.
If your visa expires after you have applied to the Graduate route, you will be permitted to remain in the UK whilst your application is being considered.
Switching into the Skilled Worker Route
If you meet the appropriate conditions, you may be able to convert from the Graduate route to the Skilled Worker route, which permits you to stay in the UK and work in eligible employment with an approved business. It’s for a maximum of five years and contributes to settlement rights, which means you might be able to seek to stay in the UK permanently. Settlement rights are not affected by taking the Graduate path. To be considered for the Skilled Worker Program, you must be able to show that you can:
You’ve received a job offer at the required skill level from a Home Office-licensed sponsor.
Your sponsor will pay you the applicable minimum salary threshold.
You are able to communicate in English at a B1 intermediate level (on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
Learn more about the Skilled Worker Route.
You may also be able to switch to different professional routes, such as Global Talent, Start-up, or Innovator.