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7 July 2021

UK Graduate immigration route now open

“As we build back better, it is vital that the UK continues to be a beacon for talented young people across the globe who want to make a difference. The new Graduate route does just that, giving the best and brightest graduates the opportunity to continue contributing to the UK’s prosperity and the freedom to kickstart their careers in the UK.” Priti Patel, Home Secretary
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
UK Graduate immigration route now open

By Vibha Angre, Legal Intern

The graduate route, part of the point-based immigration system, opened for applications on 1 July 2021. 

The announcing of this route is a part of the new Global Talent Visa policy that is aimed at bringing in the brightest and best in the STEM sector, over concerns that this sector will be severely impacted due to Brexit. 

This route is a huge boost to students coming into the UK to study. It allows for talented international graduates to work in the UK after graduating from a UK university. 

This route caters to the needs of international students to find work in the UK after graduating and helps in kick-starting their career by allowing them to apply for a two- or three-year visa. This will permit them to stay back, live work, or look for work for an additional 2 or 3 -years after completing their education at a UK university. 

The Graduate route provides a more flexible pool of candidates and reduces the financial and administrative burden on employers when compared to other immigration routes.

“We welcome the Graduate route as a unique opportunity for eligible international graduates to further enhance employability skills and gain experience of the UK labour market for a period after completing their studies. International students who are able to access this route will have the flexibility to apply for work in any sector or role that fits their skills profile, including self-employment, without the need for employer sponsorship.”

-Anne Marie Graham, Chief Executive of UK Council for International Student Affairs. 

The most important feature of this route is that is an unsponsored route; this means that a student who applies to this route does not need a job offer to be eligible. The route does not have a minimum salary requirement threshold to meet and has no caps on numbers. Graduates can work flexibly, change jobs, and train and develop their careers as they wish. 

The route however needs the applicant to have completed all the requirements of an eligible course at a UK university and should have complied with the government’s immigration requirements. One can see how this route is simple and beneficial for any applicant. 

“International students are a vital part of our society, and those who graduate from our world-leading universities should have the opportunity to stay and build meaningful careers here, in the UK. That is why we are introducing this new route for international graduates, enabling British businesses to attract and retain some of the brightest, most talented graduates across the globe, and helping this nation build back better from the pandemic.”

-Michelle Donelan, Universities Minister 

The route has been made simple and beneficial since the main purpose of this route is to attract talented individuals from all around the world to the UK so that businesses in the UK can recruit qualified individuals to boost and complement the existing skills in the UK. The pandemic has called for the need to build the economy and drive it forwards again and this route will aid in this process by bringing in qualified, skilled, and talented students from all corners of the world. 

A student who wishes to apply to this route must have started their studies in autumn 2020 or spring 2021 and will need to be in the UK by 27 September 2021. The UK government has recognised the difficulties in traveling to the UK due to the ongoing pandemic and has hence offered this extension, a coronavirus concession, until 27 September 2021. Alternatively, students beginning their course this autumn or early next year will need to be in the UK by 6 April 2022. 

The graduate route is a huge boon to international students who wish to work and live in the UK. It also helps communities and businesses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland benefit from employing skilled and talented individuals from all corners of the world. 

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