UK Post-Study Graduate Route

On July 1, 2021, UK introduced “The Graduate route” for all international students who graduated from British universities inside the UK. This route allows international students to find full time work upon completion of their studies. Prior to this new route, international students were allowed to stay back in the UK for only four months before the expiry of their student visas. All students needed to find a job within these four months, failing which, they needed to leave the UK. The only way for them to continue their stay in the UK was if they could find a company to sponsor them on a work visa.

But now with the new graduate route, international university students who complete their Master’s programs from British universities are allowed to stay in the UK for at least two more years to find work. International PhD students are allowed to stay and find work for three more years upon completion of their studies in the UK.

The benefit of this new route is that international graduates are now allowed to stay ‘unsponsored’ during the entire period. This means that they would not need to be sponsored by companies that hire them. This also means that students do not, any more, have restrictive conditions like minimum salary threshold or quotas. They can be flexible in their jobs and can switch from one job to another.

The UK Home Office states that students who began their studies in the spring of 2020 but due to the pandemic are no longer in the UK can avail this route if they complete their course and are in the country by Sept. 27, 2021. Those starting their studies this year (2021) or early next year (2022) are required to be in the UK by April 6, 2022. This has given students a lot of flexibility, especially during times of air travel restrictions and border closures.

This new route for international students will pave the way for the UK to retain highly qualified talent from around the world and give a boost to its pandemic-hit economy. “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,” said British Home Secretary Priti Patel.