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Summary of Graduate Immigration Route announced on March 4th 2021-Effective July 1st 2021

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

On 4th of March 2021, the UK Government has confirmed that the Graduate route will open for applications on 1 July 2021.

Key Points:

  • The Graduate route will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance, and who have valid Tier 4 or Student permission at the time of application.

  • Successful applicants on this route at bachelor’s or master’s level will be able to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level for two years. Doctoral students will be able to stay for three years.

  • Graduates will be able to apply to the Skilled Worker route from within the UK, once they have found a suitable job.

  • Individuals who already have permission as a dependant of a Student who is applying on this route can also apply to extend their permission as a dependant – however new dependants are not permitted on this route.

  • The route does not count towards settlement – however Graduates will be able to apply to other routes at the end of their 2-3 year stay, for example the Skilled Worker, Global Talent or Innovator routes.

  • Those who graduate and whose Tier 4 or Student visa leave expires before the route is introduced will not be eligible, however, most of these students will have had no expectation of benefitting from such a route when they applied to study in the UK. They will also be able to apply to a number of other routes, for example Skilled Worker, Start Up, Innovator or Global Talent, among others.

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.

More Information here:

Information for international students looking to apply to the Graduate route, including eligibility, how to apply, accessing your immigration status (eVisa) and conditions of the route.

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