July 8, 2021

United Kingdom Opens Graduate Visa Route

The U.K. government opened a Graduate visa route at the beginning of July. It enables graduates from certain institutes of higher education to remain in the country for two to three years and offers employers a larger pool of candidates to consider, with a less expensive and burdensome visa option than some of the other immigration routes.

To be eligible, an applicant must:

    • Obtain at least 70 points under the Points Based System
    • Be sponsored by a Higher Education Provider and successfully complete the course undertaken during their last granted permission of stay on the student route
    • Notify the Home Office of the successful completion of their course prior to applying, and
    • Successfully complete a Bachelor’s degree, U.K. postgraduate degree, or a relevant qualification listed within GR 5.2 of the Immigration rules

Concessions will be made for students who took part in remote learning overseas due to COVID-19 between January 24, 2020, and September 27, 2021. They must have started their course in 2020 and entered the U.K. on or before June 21, 2021 or began in 2021 and entered the U.K. by September 27, 2021.

PhD or doctoral applicants will be eligible to obtain a three-year permit. All other successful applicants will be issued a permit for two years. The Graduate route gives the applicant the ability to kick-start their career with the flexibility to remain and work, or look for work, in the U.K. Applicants can obtain the visa without having already secured a job offer and there are no minimum salary requirements or caps on the number of applicants.

It should be noted that time spent in the U.K. under the graduate status does not count towards settlement status, but individuals will be permitted to switch onto the Skilled Worker category from within the U.K.

Individuals who are already in the U.K. as dependents of Student or Tier 4 General permit holders may apply for permission to stay as a dependent of a graduate, however, family members outside the U.K. will not be permitted to apply as a dependent of an individual with graduate status.

For further information on the Graduate route available in the U.K., please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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