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Extended stay for graduates

On 4th March 2021, the government announced that the Graduate Visa Route will open for applications on 1st July 2021. This is a welcome announcement as it offers job opportunities for graduates and employers can now have access to this new pool of talent.

The Graduate Route is for international students holding a valid Student or Tier 4 visa.  They must  complete a UK degree or an eligible course of study by the end of this academic year. This visa will allow successful applicants to remain in the UK to work or look for work, for two years after completing their studies.

Sponsorship The Graduate Route is an unsponsored route. This means that applicants will not need a job offer or a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in order to be eligible. Successful applicants will be permitted to look for work and can work flexibly once a job has been secured.  They will be able to undertake roles at any skill level and will not need to satisfy any minimum salary requirement.  Successful applicants will also be able to switch jobs.
Validity Successful applicants a bachelor’s or master’s degree will be able to stay in the UK for two years. Doctoral students will be able to stay in the UK for three years.
Extensions This route does not allow you to extend permission to stay beyond the two years. If successful applicants secure employment with a sponsored entity, you can switch to the Skilled Worker route while in the UK.
Settlement The Graduate Route will not lead directly to settlement.
Switching visas Successful applicants will be able to extend your stay by switching into other work-based routes, such as the Skilled Worker route, the Global Talent route and the Innovator route, all of which can lead to settlement, if you meet the criteria.
Dependents Dependents of successful applicants already in the UK will be able to extend their stay for the same time period.  New dependents will not be permitted on this route, unless a dependent child is born in the UK during a period of Student or Tier 4 visa.

Students will be able to apply for the Graduate Route when they successfully complete a degree at UK bachelor’s or postgraduate level, or 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.

International students whose leave expires before 1st July 2021, will not be eligible for the Graduate Visa Route.  However, if you fall into this category you may qualify to switch into another immigration route, such as the Skilled Worker route, Start-up route, Innovator route or Global Talent route. Please contact us for further information and to discuss your visa options.

COVID-19 : Exceptional consideration

The Home Office will be considering applications for international students who have been unable to travel to the UK due to the pandemic.  Students who returned home during the lockdown but have been distance learning outside of the UK will be considered under these circumstances:
•   If they began studies in autumn 2020, students will be eligible to switch into the Graduate Immigration Route on the condition they enter the UK by 21 June 2021;
•   If you began your studies in January or February 2021, students will be eligible to switch into the Graduate Immigration Route if you enter the UK by 27 September 2021.


Please contact us  if you would like further information or assistance in applying for this visa.