Information about the new Graduate Route
The UK government has announced the intention of launching a 2 year (or 3 year for PhD) Graduate Immigration visa from 1st July 2021.
Students who have had formal communication that they have successfully passed their course, where that course is Bachelors or Masters level, will be able to apply for 2 years. PhD students will be able to apply for 3 years.
All students will need to be in the UK and hold Tier 4 or Student Route immigration status to apply.
The application will cost £700, although their will be no maintenance requirment, and the Immigration Health Surcharge must be paid at point of application (currently £624 per year).
Please see the further available information section below for a more detailed breakdown of what w know so far (as of March 2021)
The UKVI released some information in their July 2020 document: The UK's Points-Based Immigration System Further Details and in an online Factsheet and a Statement of Changes (to the Immigration Rules) which were updated/released on 4th March 2021.
Information from these updated, or new, sources is included below:
From these resources we know that the Graduate route will be launched on 1st July 2021 to provide international students the opportunity to stay in the UK to work or look for work after they graduate. Undergraduate and master's degree students will be able to stay for two years under the route, whilst PhD students will be able to stay for three years. Graduates will be able to later switch into other routes in the UK- providing they meet the relevant requirements for that route. This will include the ability to switch into work routes if they are able to meet the requirements. Residency in the UK under the Graduate route will not count towards settlement.
It will be an unsponsored route. All successful applicants will be granted a one-time non-extendable leave period of two years/three years on this route and will be able to work, or look for work, at any skill level during this period. The route will also be Points-Based, with the full number of points being awarded for the successful completion of a degree from a UK Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance.
The current Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES), open to international students who have completed a PhD in the UK and allowing them to remain and work here for 12 months after completing their studies, will be closed at the point the new Graduate Route is introduced.
Who can apply?
The Graduate route will be open to international students, who have valid leave as a Tier 4 (General) Student or as a Student at the time of application and who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above (e.g. B.A., B.Eng., BSc., MA, MEng, MSc, PHD) at a UK Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance during that grant of leave.
The 4th March 2021 Statement of Changes includes some specified courses, non degree courses, that are also permissable:
(a) a law conversion course validated by the Joint Academic Stage Board in England and Wales; or
(b) the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland; or
(c) the Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland; or
(d) a foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry; or
(e) a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE); or (
f) 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
If you are not studying one of the courses above (for example you are studying a PGDip or PGCert.) then we understand that you will not be eligible for the Graduate route
Students must have completed the course which was stated on the CAS used to apply for their latest Tier 4/Student visa (where the a student was allowed to change their course of study without applying for further permission as a Student, this requirement only applies to the course to which they changed).
Applicants must have completed the minimum of their degree in the UK as per the table below:
|Total length of course||Relevant period of Student permission granted during which all study took place in the UK (apart from permitted study abroad programmes)|
|12 months or less||12 months or less Full duration of course|
|Longer than 12 months||At least 12 months|
The only exception is xcept for permitted study abroad programmes or when distance learning has been necessary due to Covid-19. Concessions around the Graduate route due to COVID can be found in the UKVI COVID Concessions Guidance in paragraphs 3.20-3.27.
Details of any specific UK arrival date requirements are covered in the paragraphs reproduced for you below:
3.23 Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 via distance learning, and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate application if they make a successful Student visa application and arrive in the UK on or before 21 June 2021 to complete their course.
N.B. This means that students who started their course in 2020 (e.g. September 2020 starters), who have not yet studied any part of their course in the UK, need to arrive in the UK before 21st June 2021 to be eligible for the Graduate Route.
3.24 Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2021 via distance learning and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate application if they make a successful Student visa application and arrive in the UK on or before 27 September 2021 to complete their course.
N.B. This means any student who started a course in 2021 (e.g. January 2021 starters), and who has not yet studied any part of that course in the UK, must be present and studying in the UK by 27th September 2021 to be eligible for the Graduate Route.
3.25 Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 who have existing permission as a Student to study that course, and who have already travelled to the UK during that period of permission, will be able to make a Graduate application as long as they are present in the UK before the end date of their course.
N.B. This means that if you started your course in 2020 OR 2021 and you have already studied part of that course in the UK, you must be present and studying in the UK before your course ends (this date is on your CAS).
Students who are studying courses of longer than a year and who are not due to complete in 2021 should not have their eligibility to apply for the Graduate Route affected if they have had to study part of their course via distance learning as a direct result of COVID as long as they are back studying in the UK by 27th September 2021. This is confirmed in the paragraph below:
3.27 Students sponsored for a course lasting longer than 12 months will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate route as a result of any distance learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021.
The route will not have a maintenance requirement and applicants will not need to demonstrate English language ability as they will already have proved English language ability by successfully completing a degree at a UK university. Applicants will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge at the usual rate of £624 per year and the visa pplication cost will be £700. This route will not have recourse to public funds.
Students who have taken an opportunity to become a Student Union Sabbatical Officer, will be able to apply for the Graduate route once their Sabbatical period ends. This is qualified in Paragraph 5.4 of the Statement of Changes:
5.4 The qualification must have been gained 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 grant of permission was to undertake a role as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.
Table 10: Graduate route conditions and requirements
|Requirements||Conditions & Restrictions|
|Application fee||Yes||Switching routes (in country)||Yes|
|Immigration Skills Charge||No||Route to settlement||No|
|Immigration Health Charge||Yes||Dependants*||See below*|
|Biometrics||Yes||Access to Public Funds||No|
|* Graduates whose dependants are already with them in the UK will be allowed to continue sponsoring family members who make an application for further leave at the same time.|
This is the most up to date information that we are able to provide at this point and we will add subsequent details, as they are released. This will include details of the application process and how you can access International@Campuslife support. Please bear in mind that sometimes the UKVI do not release Guidance around the route and application until the route actually opens. We will update this resource as soon as we are able so please be confident that the detail that we have is already available to you here. We apprecaite your understanding.