Graduate Immigration Route


Information about the UK government’s two to three year graduate work visa for international students with a Student or Tier 4 visa.



What it is & when you can apply

The UK Government have announced a new Graduate Immigration Route, which will be launched in summer 2021.

The new route will allow you to apply for a visa to remain in the UK for two years after your studies so you can look for work or start work at any skill level, or 3 years if you have completed a PhD.

We have published what we know so far below, however please note that until the immigration rules and guidance for the graduate route are published, the information below is subject to change. Please also note that this information may not be published until the Graduate Immigration Route goes live.

We expect it to go live on 1 July 2021. This will be the earliest date on which you can submit a visa application under the route. If your Tier 4 or Student visa expires before 1 July 2021, you will not be able to apply for a visa under the Graduate Immigration Route.

Eligibility

Please note that we are not expecting there to be any of the following requirements for you to need to meet as part of the visa application:

  • financial requirement
  • English language - we expect this will be assumed from the fact you will have met this requirement when granted your Student or Tier 4 visa to study your course
  • labour market test
  • minimum skill or salary level
  • sponsorship from your employer

We understand that you should be able to apply if you:

  • have a valid Student or Tier 4 visa (except where it was granted under the Doctorate Extension Scheme) which expires on 1st July 2021 or after; and
  • have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above during that Student visa (this is either the course that your current visa was granted to study or the course you changed to - we expect this this will still apply if your visa was granted to study an integrated masters course but you exit early with a Bachelors award); and
  • the University must have notified UKVI that you have successfully completed your course before you submit your visa application; and
  • you must not have not previously been granted a visa under the Graduate Immigraton Route; and
  • you must have permission from your financial sponsor (only if your financial sponsor was a government sponsor or an international scholarship agency); and
  • If your course is longer than 12 months, you must have spent at least 12 months studying your course inside the UK (However, please also see the section on remote learning below); or
  • If the length of your course is 12 months or less, you must have spent the full duration of your course studying inside the UK. (However, please also see the section on remote learning below)

Remote learning outside the UK due to COVID-19:

To be eligible for the visa, we expect that you will need to enter the UK on or before 21 June 2021 where:

  • you started your course in 2020; and
  • the course is 12 months or less in total (this includes articulation degrees where your total course is more than 12 months, but you only complete your final year in Sheffield); and
  • you have not travelled to the UK yet to study your course with your current Student or Tier 4 visa

You will need to return to the UK on or before the end date of your course (your most recent CAS will confirm what this date is) where you:

  • started your course in 2020; and
  • the course is 12 months or less in total (this includes articulation degrees where your total course is more than 12 months, but you only complete your final year in Sheffield); and
  • you have travelled to the UK and started studying your course using your current Student or Tier 4 visa; and
  • you have since left the UK to resume remote study from overseas

You will need to return to the UK before your Student or Tier 4 visa expires where:

  • your course is longer than 12 months; and
  • you spent time studying your course remotely outside the UK between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 due to COVID-19

Where your course is longer than 12 months we are not currently expecting there to be any deadline for you to return to the UK in order to be eligible for the Graduate Visa, except for returning before your Student or Tier 4 visa expires. We expect that you will still be considered to meet the requirement to have spent at least 12 months studying in the UK if the following total is 12 months or more:

  • time you have spent in the UK studying your course with a Student or Tier 4 visa; plus
  • time you spent remote learning outside the UK between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 whilst you had a Student or Tier 4 visa

Dependants

New dependants will not be permitted under the Graduate Immigration Route. If your dependants already have a a visa as your dependant partner or child, they will be permitted to extend their visa in line with you and must apply inside the UK.

If you have children born in the UK during your most recent Student or Tier 4 visa, they will also be able to apply for a visa as your dependant.

Any dependants that have received sponsorship from a Government or International Scholarship Agency in the 12 months immediately prior to the date they submit their visa application must also provide a letter from their sponsor giving consent for them to stay in the UK whilst you are on the Graduate Route.

What you can and cannot do with a graduate visa

If you are granted a Graduate Visa, we expect that you will be able to:

  • Do any work (including being self-employed), except as a professional sportsperson or coach
  • Study - but only if the study does not meet the requirements of study that is allowed under a Student visa
  • Switch to a Skilled Worker visa (only if you meet the requirements for this visa category)

We expect that you will not be able to:

  • Claim public funds
  • Work as a professional sportsperson or coach
  • Study at an institution that has Student Sponsor Satus (including Student Sponsor Status with a Track Record of Compliance) on a course where the qualification and level of study meet the requirements for the Student visa category. I.e Any course that a Student visa sponsor can issue a CAS to for a Student to study under a Student Visa, cannot be studied if you have a Graudate Visa.

We expect that you will require ATAS clearance if any study you do with a Graduate visa requires it.

If you are required to register with the police, you will also need to do this when you have a Graduate Visa.

How to apply

You must:

  • apply inside the UK
  • complete identity, criminality and security checks
  • pay an application fee (£700) and an Immigration Health Surcharge payment (£624 per year x each year of permission you expect to be granted to you, please see above)

We will explain the visa application process in more detail when the government release more information.

 

See also:

The government and UKCISA webpages provide up to date information on the new Graduate Immigration Route.