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The Government has announced that a new graduate immigration route will open for applications on 1 July 2021.

The Government has announced that a new Graduate Immigration route will open for applications on 1 July 2021, “…allowing the UK to retain the brightest and the best international students to continue to contribute to society and the economy post-study.”  This new route is likely to benefit employers as well as new small start-up companies as any students qualifying for the visa will not require sponsorship, which means that the burden of additional administration, costs and visa processes can be avoided.

Key points

  • The Graduate Route will open for applications on 1 July 2021.
  • The route will enable international students who have completed a Bachelor or Masters degree at a UK Higher Education Provider to stay in the UK for further two years after they have completed their studies. This also includes professional qualification degrees, such as LPC or PGCE. PhD graduates can stay for three years.
  • Applicants must have a valid Student (or Tier 4) visa at the time of application. Unfortunately, graduates whose Tier 4 or Student visa expires before this route opens cannot apply.
  • Graduates will be able to work or look for work during the two or three-year period.
  • This is an unsponsored route, meaning applicants will not need a job offer in order to be eligible. There will be no minimum salary requirements or caps on numbers. Graduates on the route will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their careers.
  • The Graduate route does not lead to settlement. However, those on the route will be able to switch into another work-based immigration category such as the Skilled Worker route (which can lead to settlement), once they meet the requirements.
  • Due to COVID-19, there are also concessions that have been put into place for students unable to travel to the UK due to the pandemic. Applicants who began their studies in autumn 2020 now have until 21 June 2021 to enter the UK (updated from the previous date of 6 April 2021) in order to be eligible for the route. Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 must enter the UK by 27 September 2021.
  • Those dependants who are already in the UK as dependants of students can apply with the main applicant. However, new dependants are not permitted under this route.
  • The visa application fee is £700. Applicants must also pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year. 

Frequently asked questions

For more information on the new Graduate Immigration Route or general immigration needs please complete the form below or contact Mandy Higgins directly.  

If you have a query about immigration, learn more about how our immigration solicitors can help you.

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