There is excellent news for everyone who is considering studying in the UK, as the government has announced Graduate Work Visa Route for international students.
Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years. Beyond that, graduates who have found skilled jobs, and who qualify for skilled work visas, will be able to switch visas in order to continue their careers in the UK.
Graduate Work Visa Route
The UK Home Office has announced they will be introducing a 2 year Post-Study Work Visa known as the Graduate Work Visa for students who meet certain conditions.
What courses will be eligible for the Graduate Work Visa?
The Home Office has advised that a student must successfully complete a Bachelor Degree or above on or after the summer of 2021 to be eligible for the Graduate Work Visa.
Can I apply for the Graduate Work Visa if I studying an online course?
Unfortunately, courses that are studied online are not eligible for the Graduate Work Visa. The Home Office has said they will make an exception if a student had to study part of their course online (including streaming) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To benefit from this concession, you must enter the UK before 6 April 2021 and complete the final semester of your studies in the UK. You must also hold a Tier 4 Student visa which is still valid when you apply. Please note that online study for reasons unconnected to COVID-19 will not be considered by the Home Office.
Is it possible to apply for the Graduate Work Visa if my course finishes before
the summer of 2021?
Unfortunately, the Home Office has confirmed that this is not possible.
Will I have to make a new visa application for the Graduate Work Visa?
Yes, applicants will need to submit a new visa application from within the UK and pay a visa application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge. Applicants must hold a valid Tier 4 Student visa when they make their application. Please note that like any visa application there is no guarantee that an application for a Graduate Work Visa will be successful. The application will be assessed by UK Visas and Immigration who will make the decision.
Can I apply for the Graduate Work Visa outside the UK?
No, you must be in the UK with a valid Tier 4 Student visa to make an application.
What will be the application process?
We are waiting for the Home Office to confirm the enrollment process.
How long will the Graduate Work Visa be issued for?
It shall be issued for up to 2 years and may not be extended.
What kind of work can I do on the Graduate Work Visa?
The Home Office has advised that visa holders will be able to work or seek work at any level and in any area. It is possible that some restrictions on the type of work a visa-holder can undertake will be included when the official guidance is published.
Will the Graduate Work Visa count towards Settlement in the UK?
No, the Home Office has confirmed that any time spent on the Graduate Work Visa will not count towards Settlement.
What are my options if I want to remain in the UK after my Graduate Work Visa ends?
You would need to apply for another visa that will allow you to remain in the UK. The Home Office should include which visa categories a Graduate Work Visa holder can switch into when they publish the official guidance.
When will the Home Office publish official guidance for the Graduate Work Visa?
The Home Office is aiming to publish this in spring 2021.
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