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Graduate Route Work Visa

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The Graduate Visa Route is due to be launched in the summer of 2021


The UK Government is absolutely committed to introducing the new, internationally competitive Graduate immigration route for international students in summer 2021. Key feature of the route include the following:

  • The Graduate route will be available to international students who have a valid Tier 4 visa at the time of application and have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance (Warwick is such a provider).
  • 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 period of 2 years (3 years for PhD graduates). Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.
  • The new route 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. This includes students who have already started their courses, even if, due to COVID-19, they have needed to undertake some of their learning remotely.
  • The Graduate Route will include the payment of a visa fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge. The exact fee will be set out in due course.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson first announced it in a government news release in September 2019, where he unveiled plans to transform how talented international students are able build successful careers in the UK through a new immigration route which enables international students to work in the UK for two years post graduation.

    The latest information is contained in a GOV policy plans document - UK Points Based Immigration System - further details, published on 13 July 2020.

  • No, not as things stand. You will need to have a valid Tier 4 visa in the summer of 2021 in order to be eligible for the scheme.

    The only exception is if you are granted a period of academic extension (for example, if you failed your dissertation and are granted a 6-month extension to re-submit by the November exam board), and you are eligible to make a new Tier 4 visa extension application to have an additional 4 months (given by the UKVI) added to your revised course registration end date.

    The eligibility criteria for the scheme is that at the time of applying for the Graduate Route, you will need to have a valid Tier 4 (General) Student visa AND you have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above using this Tier 4 visa.

  • Not as things stand, although you will still be eligible for the 1-year Doctorate Extension Scheme as the scheme will run until the new Graduate Talent Route is launched.

    However, you may become eligible if you are granted a period of extension before thesis submission, or, if you require a longer period of correction.

    The eligibility criteria for the scheme is that at the time of applying for the 3-year Graduate Talent Route, you will need to have a valid Tier 4 (General) Student visa AND you have successfully completed your doctorate degree using this Tier 4 visa.

  • Yes. If you are doing a degree level course or above, the UKVI guidance is that you need to be physically in the UK no later than 6 April 2021 and complete your final semester in the UK.

  • Yes, as things stand. For as long as the scheme remains in place by the time you complete your degree, you will be eligible.

  • You should be able to take most types of employment and self-employment, however, you will not be able to work as a professional sportsperson or as a doctor or dentist in training (except if you studied medicine or dentistry degree in the UK).

    You should be able to work full time, part time or on a casual or fixed term contract. There is no minimum salary requirement or minimum numbers of hours you can work.

    This scheme doesn't lead to settlement (permanent residency in the UK). Therefore, if your aim is to remain in the UK for longer term, holding this visa will give you a period of 2 years to look for and secure a job which attracts Tier 2 sponsorship, at which point you can switch to a Tier 2 work visa.

  • Further information on Tier 4 students' work permissions during and after studies can be found on our 'Work during and after studies' webpage.

  • It is possible.

    The current UKVI policy intention document outlines one of the eligibility criteria is that:

    • (You) have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level (RQF 6) or above, and the course must have been the one for which their latest Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) was assigned. The sponsoring HEP must confirm the applicant meets this requirement;

    Please read the full guidance if you are concerned:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-points-based-immigration-system-further-details-statement

    If you are an offer holder and have not yet received your CAS or made your visa application, it might be the best to request a new CAS with the new course details.

    If you are a current student and have already changed course, do not worry for now. Check back in January 2021 when the new immigration rules have been published and we will post more information here in terms of what you might need to do.

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