The Graduate route will open for applications on 1 July 2021 and is for international students who want to work in the UK following the successful completion of a course of study at UK bachelor’s degree-level or above.
The Graduate route aims to retain the highest caliber international students to contribute to the society and economy after completion of their studies.
You must be an international student who has completed an eligible course at a UK higher education provider, with a track record of compliance with the government’s immigration requirements.
The Graduate route will be unsponsored and you will not need a job offer to apply for the route. There will be no minimum salary requirements nor caps on numbers. You will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop your career as required.
You will be able to work or look for work after your studies for a maximum period of 2 years, or 3 years for Doctoral students.
The route does not count towards settlement, however you will be able to apply to other routes at the end of your 2 to 3 year stay, for example the Skilled Worker, Global Talent or Innovator routes.
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With a Graduate visa you can:
- Do any work (including being self-employed), except as a professional sportsperson or sports coach;
- Study (as long as the course doesn’t meet the requirements of a Student visa);
- Switch to other types of visas that count towards settlement if you meet the requirements;
- You may be able to bring your dependant partner and dependant children with you under certain circumstances;
- Travel abroad and return to the UK during the visa validity period.
With a Graduate visa you cannot:
- Apply for most benefits (public funds) or the State Pension;
- Work as a professional sportsperson or a sports coach;
- Study a course which meets the requirements for a Student visa.
If your travel plans have been affected due to the pandemic and consequent international travel restrictions, the Coronavirus concessions have been extended. If you began your studies in Autumn 2020, you will now have until 21 June 2021 to enter the UK (updated from 6 April 2021) in order to be eligible for the Graduate route. If you began your studies in January or February 2021, you will need to be in the UK by 27 September 2021.
More information will be published once available.