Graduate Immigration Route
The Graduate immigration route enabling international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies, or three years for Doctoral students, will be open for applications on 1 July 2021
This is an unsponsored route, meaning applicants will not need a job offer to qualify. There will be no minimum salary requirement nor caps on numbers. Qualifying applicants will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career.
The Graduate immigration route will be available to international students who want to work or look for work following the successful completion of a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance.
This route will not lead to settlement.
Those with existing leave to enter or remain as a dependant of a student who is applying on this route can extend their permission as a dependant on the Graduate immigration route. New dependants will not be permitted to apply on this route.
What are the validity requirements?
The applicant must:
Be in the UK
Apply on the gov.uk website on the specified online form ‘Graduate’
Have existing permission as a Student on the date of application
Not have been previously granted permission under the Doctorate Extension scheme or as a Graduate
Pay the immigration health surcharge and the application fee
Have provided any required biometrics
Have provided a current valid passport or travel document which satisfactorily established their identity and nationality.
If, in the 12 months before the application, the applicant has been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK, a written consent to the application is also required from the government or international scholarship agency.
What is the qualification requirement?
The applicant must have successfully completed a course of study for which they will be awarded:
A UK bachelor’s degree
A UK postgraduate degree, or one of the following:
A law conversion course validated by the Joint Academic Stage Board in England and Wales
The Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
The Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland
A foundation programme in medicine or dentistry
A postgraduate Certificate in Education course, or
A professional course requiring study at UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities that is regulated by UK law or UK public authority.
The qualification must have been obtained during the last grant of permission to study as a student or in the period of permission immediately before the applicant’s last grant of permission if the last permission was granted to undertake a role as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.
What is the study in the UK requirement?
The minimum period for which the applicant’s current permission on the Student route must have been granted will depend on the total duration of their course.
If the total length of their course is 12 months or less, the student’s permission must have been granted for the full duration of the course and all study must have taken place in the UK, except for permitted study abroad programmes.
If the total length of their course is more than 12 months, the student’s permission granted during which all study took place in the UK must have been for at least 12 months.
Students who were on distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 will meet the requirements provided:
They started their course in 2020 and entered the UK on or before 21 June 2021 to complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a student; or
They started their course in 2021 and entered the UK before 27 September 2021 to complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a student.
Period and conditions of grant for a Graduate
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 maximum period of 2 years or 3 years for PhD students.
The grant of leave will be subject to the following conditions:
No access to public funds
Work (including self-employment and voluntary work) is permitted, apart from work as a professional sportsperson.
Study is permitted, except for study that meets the approved qualification and level of study requirements of the student route
Where study is subject to the ATAS condition this must be met
Those aged 16 or older, staying in the UK for longer than 6 months whose nationality means that they must register with the police will be required to do so.
At the end of the two/three year period the visa holder will be able to switch into ‘skilled work’ once they have found a job that meets the requirements of the Skilled Worker route.
Time spent on the Graduate visa will not count towards settlement.
Those who graduate or whose student leave expires before the Graduate immigration route is introduced will not be eligible to apply.
A dependent partner or dependent child can continue to stay in the UK as dependants of a Graduate provided their previous grant of permission was either:
as a dependant partner of a student and that student is applying for or has been granted leave to remain on the Graduate route,
as a dependent child of either a Student or dependant partner of the student and that student is applying for or has been granted leave to remain on the Graduate route,
or the child was born in the UK during the last grant of permission of a student and that student is applying for or has been granted leave to remain on the Graduate route.
Eligibility requirements for a dependant partner:
The relationship between the applicant and their partner must be genuine and subsisting
They must intend to live together throughout the applicant’s stay in the UK
The dependant partner must not intend to stay in the UK beyond any permission granted to the Graduate.
Eligibility requirements for a dependant child:
Must be the child of a parent who has or is at the same time being granted permission as a Graduate or the partner of a Graduate.
Each of the child’s parents must be applying at the same time as the child or have permission to be in the UK, unless the parent with permission as a student/Graduate or as the partner of a student/Graduate is the sole surviving parent, has sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing, or there are serious & compelling reasons to grant the child leave to remain with the parent who is applying for the Graduate route or as partner of a Graduate.
The child must be aged under 18 at the date of application, unless their last grant of permission was as a dependent child of a parent on the Graduate route or the dependant partner of a Graduate.
If they are aged 16 or over they must not be leading an independent life.
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