Calling all International Students and Graduates, a new graduate route opening on the 1st July 2021!

Calling all International Students and Graduates, a new graduate route opening on the 1st July 2021!

The new Graduate route will open on the 1st July 2021 which will enable 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.

Students on the Graduate route will be able to work or look for work, at any skill level, after their studies for a maximum period of 2 years, or 3 years for Doctoral students.

Eligibility of the Graduate Immigration Route:

In order to qualify for permission to stay on the Graduate Immigration Route you will need to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that:

  • You are submitting your application from within the UK
  • You have a valid Student or Tier 4 (except where it was granted under the PhD Extension Scheme) which expires on 1st July 2021 or after
  • You have successfully completed a UK Bachelors or Postgraduate degree (i.e., Masters or PhD) or one of the specific alternative qualifications confirmed by UKVI
  • You have studied at a Higher Education Provider which is a student sponsor with a track record of compliance.
  • The Higher Education Provider must have notified UKVI that you have successfully completed your course before you submit your visa application
  • You have spent a minimum study period in the UK; If your course is longer than 12 months, you must have spent at least 12 months studying your course inside the UK on a Tier 4 or Student visa. If the length of your course is 12 months or less, you must have spent the full duration of your course studying inside the UK on a Tier 4 or Student visa.
  • You have not previously held permission on the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES), or the Graduate route
  • You must have permission from your financial sponsor (only if your financial sponsor was a government sponsor or an international scholarship agency)
  • You will need to know the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
  • You do not fall for refusal on grounds of suitability


New dependants will not be permitted under the Graduate Immigration Route. If your dependants already have a visa as your dependant partner or child, they will be permitted to extend their visa in line with you and must apply inside the UK.

Advantages of the new visa route:

Graduates on the Graduate Immigration Route will be permitted to look for work and, once employment has been found, work flexibly. Successful applicants will also be able to switch jobs.

This is better than the predecessor route, given that in the past students were not given enough time to actively find a job or sponsorship.

Please note the following requirements DO NOT need to be met:

  • financial requirement
  • English language – it will be assumed from the fact you will have met this requirement when granted your student or Tier 4 visa to study your course
  • minimum skill or salary level - can undertake a role at any level
  • sponsorship or third-party endorsement - meaning applicants will not need a job offer to apply for the route

Word of caution:

It will not be possible to extend permission to stay on the Graduate Immigration Route and will not lead directly to settlement.

However, once on the Graduate Immigration Route you will be able to extend your stay by switching into other work-based routes, such as the Skilled Worker Visa, the Innovator Visa etc, all of which can lead to settlement.

Additionally, on this route you cannot claim public funds; work as a professional sportsperson or coach or study at an institution that has Student Sponsor Status.

COVID-19 Exceptions:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students were forced to undertake their studies remotely. It is not possible to apply for a Graduate Visa from outside the UK. However, the Home Office are putting in place concession for international students who have been unable to travel to the UK due to the pandemic.

Therefore, if you began your studies in Autumn 2020, you will now have until 21 June 2021 to enter the UK to be eligible for the Graduate Route.

If you began your studies your studies in the earlier months of 2021, you will be able you switch into the Graduate Immigration Route if you enter the UK by 27 September 2021.

We appreciate that the process of securing the new Graduate Visa can seem quite challenging and daunting, which is why we will be able to assist you through the process. Our lawyers will guide you through the process of securing the relevant visa, whether that be a Graduate Visa or the Skilled Workers Visa. We will provide you with resources and step-by-step assistance for a seamless transition into the UK whether that is for yourself, an employee, or your business.

For a free consultation, contact us on

The information in this article is for general information purposes only and does not purport to provide legal advice. Whilst we try to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be emphasised that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. The Queensbury Group accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this news article. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Queensbury. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Queensbury.