The UK Graduate Route Visa - Guide
Taking the right route - Post Study Work Opportunities with UK's new Graduate Route
Studying and working in the UK
It is undoubtedly one of the most desirable study destinations for students from across the globe and has been the top choice for years now.
Apart from being known as a country that is home to top-notch universities offering various courses to you on a platter, it is also well-known for providing international students with a wholesome and enjoyable study abroad experience.
Statistically, from around 300,000 international students who come from all over the world, a whopping 87.7% are said to be employed at the end of their education in the UK, every year. Rather promising, isn't it?
Traditionally, staying in the United Kingdom post your education was only possible with a post-study work visa (PSW Visa), which required sponsorship from your employer. However, things took an exciting turn in July 2021 for international students from across the country, all thanks to the Graduate Route!
Wondering what it is all about? Keep reading to find out!
So, what is the UK Graduate Route Visa?
A Graduate Route Visa, previously known as Post Study Work Visa, is essentially a grant that permits you to stay in the UK for at least two years after completing a course in the country.
The UK's Home Office has announced that starting from 1 July 2021, eligible international students will be allowed two additional years of work experience in the UK upon graduation. This route essentially offers overseas graduates to stay on longer and look for jobs at the end of their education, without any restrictions on the nature of employment and minimum salary requirement.
What are the eligibility criteria? Who can & cannot apply?
It is only natural for you to wonder if you are eligible for this Graduate Route. Well don't fret, all you need to have in mind are these four important things.
- You must be in the UK when you apply for the visa, with the current student visa valid as of July 1st, 2021.
- You should have studied a UK bachelor's degree, postgraduate degree, or other elective courses for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa and
- You should have successfully completed the course too.
Want to hear something exciting? If you have been studying online in your home country due to Covid-19, no problem at all! You are still eligible to apply for the Graduate Route, provided you meet a few other requirements.
How long can you stay in the UK with this visa?
A maximum of two years to undergraduate/masters graduates and a maximum of three years in the case of Ph.D. graduates are granted under this visa. The route is non-extendable and does not count towards settlement- however, you may be able to switch to a different visa, such as a Skilled Worker visa at the end of your 2-3 year period.
What is the cost/application fee rates?
Applying for the Graduate Route will require you to pay an application fee of usually £700, in addition to the healthcare surcharge - this is usually £624 for each year you are to reside in the UK.
What are the documents required?
There are totally four essential documents to successfully apply for the Graduate Route in the UK. These documents are mandatory and must be produced on time to complete the application process seamlessly.
- A Biometric Residence Permit or BRP card.
- Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number used for your most recent Student or Tier 4 application.
- Your Passport
- Your National Insurance Number
Here's how you can apply for the Graduate Route visa.
The pandemic has completely shifted the process of applying for the grant online, therefore avoiding the hassle of paperwork and bureaucracy. Anyone, who deems fit for the grant can directly apply for the graduate route via the UK Government's official website, on www.gov.uk/graduate-visa.
The visa processing may take up to 8 weeks, during which you are allowed to stay in the country. Once your grant is successfully processed, the visa will be issued as a digital status, also known as an eVisa. This digital status will enable you to prove your right to live and work in the UK online.
Are any restrictions and limitations to this visa?
With a Graduate visa, you are allowed to work in most jobs, look for work, become self-employed, do voluntary work, travel abroad, and return to the UK whenever you wish to.
However, with this visa, you will not be allowed to apply for most benefits such as public funds, or the State Pension, or work as a professional sportsperson. Furthermore, existing dependents of students may also apply for the visa, but the route strictly does not allow any new dependents to be added.
The Graduate Route Visa - Your ticket to becoming a working professional in the UK
Education may be the primary reason, but employment is also an equal priority for almost all international students studying in the UK. Many students aspire to stay and work, or just look for work in the UK at any skill level after the completion of their course.
Now thanks to the Graduate Route, eligible graduates will have the flexibility to apply for work in any sector or role that fits their skills profile, including self-employment, without the need for employer sponsorship.
With things seeming to be recovering in light of vaccination rollouts and the return of optimism around the economy and job prospects post-pandemic, the new Graduate Route acts as a beam of hope for international students to enter the UK job market- a truly prospective place to build their career.
For any further queries you may have regarding the Graduate Route or studying in the UK, you can get in touch with our counsellors at AECC Global right away! We'll help you through the process of applying and benefiting from this route without any hassles.