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Graduate Route Work Visa

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The Graduate Route visa was launched on 01 July 2021, although graduates must wait until they are eligible to apply.

Please see our Step-by-Step Application Guide if you are considering making an application.

(Last updated: 28/Aug/2021)


Section 2: What is the Graduate Route? What can I do with this visa?


The Graduate Route is an unsponsored, post study work visa.


Successful applicants will recieve a 2 year visa, or a 3 year visa for those who have completed a PhD.


Graduates on the route will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required.


This includes self-employment, voluntary work, part-time, fixed term or casual contract, but not work as a professional sportsperson.


There will be no minimum salary requirements or minimum number of hours you can work for this route.


This scheme doesn't lead to settlement (permanent residency in the UK).


Therefore, if your aim is to remain in the UK longer term, holding this visa will give you a period of 2 years to look for and secure a job which attracts Skilled Worker sponsorship, at which point you can switch to the work visa. You may also be able to switch to a Start Up visa if you are interested in setting up your own business, at which point you can switch to the Start Up visa.

Studying on a Graduate Route Visa:

Graduates on the route will be able to study most courses that are not sponsored under the Student Route.


Examples of the type of study permitted under this route can be:


  • Part-time undergraduate course

  • Some English language courses

  • Some professional courses

  • Any study at a college or university that is not a Student route visa sponsor

  • Online study

  • Evening classes

  • Recreational courses

The restrictions of study does not apply to Dependants of Graduate Route Visa holders, with the exception of professional sportsperson or as a doctor/dentist in training.

Section 3: Who is the Graduate Route for?


This route is for a Warwick Student in the UK who wants to work, or look for work, following the successful completion of an eligible course of study at UK bachelor’s degree-level or above.


The student must meet the eligibility criteria for this route, including having held a Student Visa (including a Tier 4 Visa) for 12 months or more. If you studied majority of your course under a different visa category, e.g., a dependant visa, please check with us about your eligibility.


The student must meet the application requirements for this application type.


Alternatives to the Graduate Route:


If you have secured a job offer which lasts for 2 years or longer and your employer is a able to sponsor you with a Skilled Worker visa, in most cases a Skilled Worker visa is a better option than the Graduate Route visa as it leads to settlement (permanent residency in the UK). However, Skilled Worker visas are tied in with an employer which means you need to switch visa if you wish to switch job. The Graduate Route visa is an unsponsored route and so you are free to changes jobs whilst holding this visa. We will aim to provide further guidance on how to choose which visa after July 2021.

Dependants:

If your dependant(s) are already in the UK and hold a dependant visa linked to your Student Visa, and you and your dependant(s) meet the application requirements, then they can apply under the Graduate Route.


You will not be able to add any new dependant(s) to your Graduate Route application, if they were not dependant(s) on your current Student Visa, unless they were children, born in the UK, whilst you are holding your current Student Visa.


Please see the Dependant requirements section below.

Section 4: Where can I apply for the Graduate Route Visa?


You can only apply under the Graduate Route from within the UK.

Please see our step-by-step guide to completing application form.

Section 5: When do I apply for the Graduate Route Visa?


The Graduate Route visa launched on 01/Jul/2021.

However, it is unlikely to be to your advantage to apply straight away if you are able to undertake the activities you need to during the 4-month wrap-up period of your existing Student Visa. You should consider this carefully. A Graduate Route Visa will be issued for a set period (2 years or 3 years, depending on the level of your course), calculated from the decision date of your application.

You can apply as soon as you meet the application requirements, AND after the University of Warwick has notified the UKVI regarding your course completion. You should not make your visa application until you have received an email notification from the University of Warwick confirming you can apply. If you do, it will be refused.

You must apply on or before your current Student visa expiry date (however, we do not recommend that you apply on the day your visa expires).

If you are graduating in 2021, please carefully read our guidance on when you may be eligible to apply.

Please also see our step-by-step guide to help you complete the application form successfully.

Section 6: What are the application requirements for the Graduate Route Visa?


You must meet the following 3 requirements to apply under this route:

However, there is no requirement to show you have a certain amount of money (known as the 'maintenance requirement').


Successful completion requirement:

You must have last been sponsored by a Student sponsor which is a higher education provider with a track record of compliance on the date of application.

The University of Warwick is a higher education provider with a track record of compliance.


You must have successfully completed the course of study which was undertaken during your last grant of permission to study on the Student route – in other words, the course for which your most recent CAS was assigned.

This means that you must have achieved the award for which your last Student Visa, sponsored by the University of Warwick, was granted, unless one of the following applies:

  • You have been permitted to change your course of study and did not need to make new visa application (because the new course was at the same level and duration as the original course)
  • You were originally assigned a CAS for a 4-year integrated Masters’ course and chose to complete the 3-year undergraduate course, exiting with a Bachelor’s qualification instead

If you have changed course and obtained a new Student visa you will still be eligible if you exit with the qualification stated on the new CAS used for your most recent Student visa.

Your Student Visa sponsor must have notified the Home Office, by the date of your application under the Graduate Route, that you have successfully completed the course of study that your Student Visa was issued for.

The University of Warwick will send a report to the UKVI to confirm that you have successfully completed your course of study. You will receive a copy of this report by email. You must not make a Graduate Route visa application until you have received this report, or your application will be refused.

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, a UK post graduate degree (Master's or Doctorate degree), or successfully completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).


If the name of your course of study was changed by the Student sponsor, but the course content remained the same, or if an integral and assessed work placement or permitted study abroad programme was added, this will not prevent you from being able to meet the qualification requirement.


The qualification must have been gained during the last grant of permission to study as a Student, or in the period of permission immediately before your last grant of permission, if the last grant of permission was to undertake a role as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.

You will not be eligible to apply if you are awarded a lower qualification, unless the lower qualification is a full degree (e.g. a Bachelors Degree). E.g. you will not be eligible if you exit with a PG Cert, PG Diploma or PG Award upon course completion.

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 route (the relevant period), as below:


  • If your course was a 1 year course, you must have spent the full duration of the course studying in the UK.

  • If your course was longer than one year, you must have spent at least 12 months of the course studying in the UK.

If you have had short absences from the UK such as taking a short holiday, where the absence is less than 3 months in total in the last 12-month period are unlikely to affect to eligibility. However, we are still waiting for official confirmation of this and will update this webpage from July 2021 when the detailed guidance is published.

You must have spent the relevant period studying in the UK with a Student (or Tier 4) visa.

Any period of distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 as part of a course of study lasting longer than 12 months whilst you held permission as a Student, will not prevent you from meeting the requirement to spend the relevant period studying in the UK.


Students Graduating in 2021

A further note about UKVI concessions and eligibility for the Graduate Route

There are several concessions to the study in UK requirement which have been introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic for students due to graduate in 2021.

It is important to remember that these concessions are subject to change without warning, and do not form part of the immigration rules. The below is an explanation of the most recent concessions we are aware of, as published by the UKVI on 11 June 2021:

Where distance learning took place overseas between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, this will not prevent the applicant meeting the requirement to spend the relevant period studying in the UK if:

(a) You are studying on a course lasting more than 1 year

or

(b) You are studying on a course lasting 1 year or less
AND
you arrive in the UK for the first time using your student visa by 27 September 2021


Please see below for a breakdown of what this means in certain common cases:

If you are enrolled on a 1-year Postgraduate course which started in Autumn 2020 or Spring 2021:

If you have not yet travelled to the UK, you must arrive on or before 27 September 2021.

If you have already entered the UK using your existing student visa, but have since left, you must return before the expiry date of your visa

please note that this is a UKVI concession and therefore may be subject to change

If you are enrolled on an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Research course, longer than 1 year in length:

There is no deadline to enter/re-enter the UK, but you must do so before your tier 4/student visa expires to be eligible to apply.

You must have studied in the UK for at least 12 months by the time you graduate, excluding short holidays. Periods of remote study between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 may be counted towards time spent in the UK under the UKVI covid concession.

If you are enrolled on a Postgraduate Taught course which started before Autumn 2020 and are in academic extension:

There is no deadline to enter/re-enter the UK, but you must do so before your tier 4/student visa expires to be eligible to apply.

You must have studied in the UK for at least 12 months by the time you graduate, excluding short holidays. Periods of remote study between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 may be counted towards time spent in the UK under the UKVI covid concession.

Section 7: What are the Dependant(s) application requirements under the Graduate Route?


To apply as a Dependant under the Graduate Route, your dependant(s) must already be your dependant on your current Student Visa, and meet the following requirements:


Relationship requirement for dependent partner of a Graduate :

The relationship between the applicant and their partner must be genuine and subsisting.


The applicant and their partner must intend to live together throughout the applicant’s stay in the UK.


The applicant must not intend to stay in the UK beyond any permission granted to their partner.

Relationship requirement for dependent child of a Graduate:

The applicant must be a child of a parent who has, or is at the same time being granted permission as:


(a) a Graduate;


or


(b) the partner of a Graduate.


Each of the applicant’s parents must either be applying at the same time as the applicant, or have permission to be in the UK (other than as a visitor) unless:


(a) the parent with permission as a Student or Graduate or as the partner of a Student or Graduate is the sole surviving parent;


or


(b) the parent with permission as a Student or Graduate or as the partner of a Student or Graduate has sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing;


or


(c) the decision maker is satisfied that there are serious and compelling reasons to grant the child permission to stay withthe parent whois applying for permission as a Graduate or as partner of a Graduate.


If the applicant is a child who is born in the UK to a Student or Graduate, or their partner the applicant must provide a full UK birth certificate showing the names of both parents.


If the applicant is aged under 18 on the date of application there must be suitable arrangements for the child’s care and accommodation in the UK which must comply with relevant UK legislation and regulations.


The child must be under the age of 18 at the date of application, unless they were last granted permission as a dependent child of a parent (P) who has or is applying for permission to stay as a Graduate or a dependent partner of a Graduate (regardless of the route under whichthe parent (P) had permission at the time the child’s last permission was granted).


If the child is aged 16 or over on the date of application, they must not be leading an independent life.

Section 8: How do I apply, how much does it cost and what documents do I need


You cannot apply for the Graduate Route until you have received specific email confirmation from the University that your successful completion has been reported to the UKVI.

Once you have received the above confirmation from the University, and you have met the application requirements, you will need to do the following to make your application:


  • You must complete and submit your application via the online GOV.UK form. A link to this will be provided in your confirmation email from the University. Take a look at our step-by-step guide to help you do this.

  • You must pay the relevant Immigration Health Surcharge - £624.00 per year, per applicant.

  • You must pay the application fee - £700.00 per applicant.

  • You must provide any required Biometric Data for all applicants.

  • You must provide a clear scan or photo of all applicant's passport or other travel document as proof of nationaity and identity.

  • You must provide a clear scan or photo of your current valid and in date Student Visa BRP, as well as the BRPs of any dependant applicants, if applicable.

  • If any applicants subject to the Police Registration Condition, must provide an up to date and valid Police Registration Certificate.

  • If, within the previous 12 months of the application date, any applicant was sponsored by their Government or an international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK, they must provide written consent to the application from that Government or agency.

  • If your dependents are applying, they may be required to provide additional documents to meet the relationship requirements.

Please note:

You can not apply under the Graduate Route if you have previously been granted Permission to Stay in the UK under the Doctorate Extension Scheme or under the Graduate Route.

The Home Office also provides detailed information on its own webpages regarding making an application, and using the UK Immigration ID Check App.

Section 9: I have applied for my Graduate Route what happens now?


Once you have submitted your application, paid your fees and provided your Biometric Data for each applicant, the UKVI will assess your application and provide you with an application decision within 4-6 weeks.


If successful, you should receive confirmation of your new visa.


This is an 'unsponsored route' and it means you do not need to provide the University with a copy of your new visa.


Whilst holding a Graduate route visa, if you wish to study a further course in the UK which can be sponsored under the Student visa (for example, a Master's degree), you may switch back to a Student visa. However, you can only apply for the Graduate Route visa once. Therefore, if you are considering further studies in the UK, you may wish to postpone applying for the Graduate Route visa until you have completed all the desired academic studies.