Post Study Work Rule in the UK – Update on Graduate Immigration Route
The UK Government has announced that the new Graduate immigration route will open for applications at 9am on 1 July 2021.
From this date students that hold a current student (or Tier 4) visa and have successfully completed their course can apply for this visa.
You can only apply in the UK. As long as you apply by the end date of your current visa, your current permission is automatically extended until the outcome of your application, even if its original expiry date has passed. This is a general principle of UK immigration law known as 3C leave. The course you have completed must be a Masters course or a PhD or other Doctoral qualification.
To apply you will need to know the CAS number you used for your most recent UK student visa application. Your University will need to separately notify the Home Office that you have passed your course.
The Home Office’s factsheet about the Graduate route says that the application fee will be £700. You will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) at £624 per year of permission that you are applying for. That is 3 years for PhD graduates, 2 years for others. If your tuition fees and living costs have been paid by a government and/or an international scholarship agency within the 12-month period before you apply, you must provide a letter showing the financial sponsor’s consent to this application under the Graduate route. A partner or child who is outside the UK cannot apply for a visa to join you as your Graduate route dependant. However, your current dependants who are in the UK with you on a dependant visa can apply for permission to stay on as your Graduate route dependant.
When your Graduate route permission is issued you can do any work, either employed or self-employed, except working as a professional sportsperson or coach.
This year the UK Government has advised some temporary concessions for those affected by the Covid19 pandemic studying from outside of the UK.
Course started in 2020 and was 12 months or less
If you have been distance learning in your home country for the whole course so far, you need to be present in the UK under the Student route by 21 June 2021.
If you came to the UK under your current Student route permission but then you switched to distance learning from home, you will need to come back to the UK on or before the end date of your course.
Course started in 2021 and was 12 months or less
If you have been distance learning in your home country for the whole course so far, you need to be present in the UK under the Student route by 27 September 2021.
If you came to the UK under your current Student route permission but then you switched to distance learning, you need to come back to the UK on or before the end date of your course.
Please consult the UKCISA website which has extensive information.
Frequently asked questions
Will the Graduate route require a new application?
The Graduate route will require a new visa application, which will only be possible from inside the UK. It will include the payment of a visa fee of £700 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year. Students will also need to know the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) they used for their most recent Student (or Tier 4) application in order to apply for the Graduate route.
Will universities be expected to act as sponsors for those students on the Graduate route after they have graduated?
Individuals applying to the Graduate route will not need a sponsor. Student sponsors will not need to fulfil any sponsorship duties for their students once they switch onto the Graduate route and students will not need a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to apply under this route. However, students sponsors will need to notify the Home Office that a student has successfully completed their course.
Will this route count towards settlement?
The route is non-extendable and does not count towards settlement. However, graduates who find an appropriate job and meet the requirements will be able to apply to work routes, including the Skilled Worker, which is a route to settlement.
What is the cost involved in extending the UK visa through Graduate route?
Application fee: £700
Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): £624 per year
Will I be able to apply for UK visa extension if my student visa has expired?
No. If your Tier 4 UK student has expired before the Graduate route is introduced, you will not be eligible to apply for a visa extension under the Graduate route.
For any queries or if you wish to apply to study in the UK, contact our UK education experts.