The newly launched Graduate visa route has opened new doors to abundant opportunities for graduate students. 

With the new points-based immigration system, from 1 July 2021, all international students who have completed a qualifying course from a UK university may consider a post-study work career in the UK.

The Graduate visa has brought a new dawn to the UK employers who didn’t have the sponsor licence. They too can now hire the best and the brightest overseas students who have completed their graduate studies from a recognised UK university and start working for them.

Welcoming the new Graduate visa, Home secretary Priti Patel said, “ As we build back better, it is vital that the UK continues to be a beacon for talented young people across the globe who want to make a difference. The new Graduate route does just that, giving the best and brightest graduates the opportunity to continue contributing to the UK’s prosperity and the freedom to kickstart their careers in the UK.”

The Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, added,“ International students are a vital part of our society, and those who graduate from our world-leading universities should have the opportunity to stay and build meaningful careers here, in the UK. That is why we are introducing this new route for international graduates, enabling British businesses to attract and retain some of the brightest, most talented graduates across the globe, and helping this nation build back better from the pandemic.”

Key aspects of a Graduate visa

  • Are you eligible to apply for a Graduate visa?

The Graduate visa applies to those international students who have 

  1. successfully finished their undergraduate degree, postgraduate degree or another eligible course for a minimum period with your Student visa from a recognised university in the UK 
  2. You are staying in the UK.
  3. You hold your current visa as a Student visa.
  • What should be your educational requirements to apply for a Graduate visa?

Your education qualification or the type of study course you have completed matters the most during your Graduate visa application. Whether you can apply will also depend on your education provider for your course, such as your university or college, the kind of course you took, and how long you studied in the UK. 

It would help if you evidenced the following:

  1. You must have finished the course within the stipulated time
  2. The education provider must be a ‘licensed student sponsor’ with a ‘track record of compliance’
  3. The education Sponsor must have notified the Government whether the applicant has completed the course
  4. You must have received the certificate of completion.
  • What should be the Course completion requirements?
  1. You must have completed the course on your student visa.
  2. Your circumstances during the application process also rely on the type, of course, you have pursued, your education provider, and how long you studied.
  3. It would help if you had either of the following educational qualifications.
  • a UK bachelor’s degree
  • a UK master’s degree   
  • a UK PhD or doctorate
  1. You will also be eligible if you have completed any of the following:
  • A law conversion course validated by the Joint Academic Stage Board in E&W
  • Legal Practice Course in England & Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
  • Bar Practice Course in England & Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland
  • A foundation programme in medicine or dentistry
  • A Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
  • A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
  • A professional course requiring a UK bachelor’s degree or above in a job with reserved activities that are regulated by UK law or UK public authority
  • How long you studied in the UK?

You must have studied your course in the UK for at least 12 months or the entire length of your course, whichever is shorter.

You must be staying in the UK when you apply for a Graduate visa.

  • What if I am unable to travel to the UK for study due to the Coronavirus pandemic

The International graduates need not worry about travelling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK government has also launched ‘Coronavirus concession’ for those who had already enrolled or will enrol themselves in the forthcoming spring 2021 to Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022.

If the students had started their courses in 2020, they could now enter the UK on or before 27 September 2021.

Students who had started their courses in Autumn 2020 or spring 2021 can also enter the UK as early as 27 September 2021 before their current visa expires. However, if the students start a course in Autumn 2021, they must be present in the UK by 6 April 2022.

  • Can the Graduate visa route lead to settlement in the UK? 

The Graduate visa is granted for two years if you have a bachelor’s degree and three years if you have a PhD. This visa is a non-extendable and unsponsored route. However, you can change your visa route to another category before it expires. For example, you can change your visa to a skilled worker visa or any other visa 


  • How does a Graduate visa benefit?

The defining characteristic of a Graduate visa is that students will not require to have a job offer to begin applications. It offers work flexibility and no minimum salary requirement.

  • How much does a Graduate visa application cost?

When you apply for a Graduate visa, you will be required to pay the application fee of £700 and pay the healthcare surcharge of £624 for each year.

  • How can I apply for a Graduate visa?

You can apply for a Graduate visa by making an online application with all the relevant documents.

It would be best if you consult an immigration expert before deciding to begin your visa application. A Y & J Solicitors have been immigration experts for over ten years now. Their bespoke advice has benefitted many clients in fulfilling their immigration needs.

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