The UK Home Office has opened its new post-study work visa for international students this year. This will allow international graduates to apply for the right to stay for job experience at the end of their university course. According to reports, this move will serve the majority of international students in India. Students on the Graduate Route will be able to work or look for work upon their completion of their studies.The post study work visa eligibility is for a maximum period of two years, or three years for doctoral students.
Gov.uk have implied that international students must have completed an eligible programme at a verified UK higher education provider. It is also important that the individual has a track record of compliance with the government’s immigration requirements to apply. The Graduate Route is unsponsored, meaning applicants will not need a job offer to apply for this.
In the UK there are neither any minimum salary requirements nor caps on the number of applications. Graduates on the route will be able to work flexible days and hours, as well as alternate jobs and develop their careers as they feel they must do. The new route will help the government to achieve the goal set out in the International Education Strategy to increase the number of international students in higher education in the UK to 600,000 by the time of 2030.
International graduates that are currently in UK universities don’t have to bid farewell to their dreams of working in the UK yet.
They can stay in the UK for up to the duration of 2 years after graduating in summer 2021 as long as they have entered the UK by April 6, 2021 and complete their final term and studied in the country.
Under this graduate immigration route announced September 2021, international students with a valid Tier 4 visa at the time of the individual’s application will be able to remain in the country. They can work or look for work at any skill hierarchy in the UK for the duration of two years.
After two years are up, they can switch to a skilled work visa to continue working in the UK if they have managed to get a job that meets the skill requirements.
The UK Home Office has stated that, “The new route will be launched in the summer of 2021,meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply for the route”.
“This includes students who have already started their courses. Universities will also be able to attract students starting in the 2020/21 academic year on the basis that they will benefit.”
The change in lifestyles due to the pandemic forced many international students to go back to their home country. Some have been prevented from returning to the UK, many are studying remotely for the majority of the summer and autumn terms this year.
The latest guidance from the UK in terms of Post Study Work visa UK eligibility for students abroad claim;
“If students are required to either continue their current studies or commence a new course by distance or blended learning due to COVID-19, they will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route on a concessionary basis if they spent some time studying outside the UK.”
International students bring over £6.9 billion worth of income to UK universities in tuition fees and in fact contribute over £26 billion to the wider UK economy.
Graduate Route Will benefit Indian and Others Students
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a recent press release, “Our world leading universities welcome thousands of international students every year. 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.”
COVID-19 visa concessions extended for next intake
According to The PIE News, the UK’s Minister for Immigration Kevin Foster confirmed on July 1 that COVID concessions around a requirement to be in the UK to study will be extended to April 6, 2022 for the next intake. This means newly arriving international students can begin studying remotely if health and visa protocols require them to do so — they will still be eligible for work rights upon graduating.
“Those are the rules that relate, for example, to blended learning and distance learning,” Foster was quoted saying, addressing UKCISA Conference delegates. “We are keen to avoid this way a surge of travel in late September, early October, not least given a number of our biggest markets for international students, India, Pakistan and I think Nigeria [Nigeria currently on amber travel list] remain on both the UK government and the devolved administrations’ red lists which would mean to enter managed hotel quarantine on arrival in the UK.”
International Students Are Still Unable to Travel to the UK
There is no confirmation when international students can return to the UK as travel bans are still put in place. Most universities will be conducting a mix of online and face-to-face learning called ‘blended learning’.
Although the UK economy is slowly accumulating, a recent surge in cities such as Leicester and smaller boroughs within the UK is leading to lockdown measures once again.
Current UK Post-Study Work Visa
The UK government has reintroduced a two-year post-study work visa in 2019 after it was revoked by Theresa May in 2012.
Graduates of UK universities that withhold a valid UK immigration status will be eligible for the Post-Study Work Visa.
The UK government website states that; “After the two years, they will be able to switch onto the skilled work visa if they find a job which meets the skill requirement of the route.”
International students will still be eligible for the post-study work rights upon graduation if they begin or continue their studies online that they undertook during the 2020/21 academic year.