On Thursday, the UK Home Office formally launched its new post-study work visa for international students, which will allow graduates from India and other countries to apply for the opportunity to remain on for work experience after completing their university studies. The Graduate route visa, introduced by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel last year, is now open for applications and is likely to help Indian students in particular, who are known to choose their degree degrees mainly on the promise of work experience.
The Graduate route is intended for international graduates who have received their degree from a recognised UK university and wish to remain in the UK for at least two years while looking for work.
“To put it in perspective, more than 56,000 Indian citizens were given a student visa last year, up 13% from the previous year and accounting for over a quarter of all student visas issued by the Department of State. “When you consider those statistics, and consider the whole of how this route would assist India, it's a huge step forward. And we'll keep working with other academic institutions to make this path viable,” she added.
International graduates must have completed an appropriate course at a UK higher education provider with a track record of compliance with the new route to be eligible. There are no minimum wage restrictions or cap on the number of graduates who can participate in the programme, allowing them to work flexibly, switch companies, and advance their careers as needed.
“As we rebuild, it is critical that the United Kingdom remains a beacon for outstanding young people throughout the world who want to make a difference. The new Graduate path accomplishes this by providing opportunities for the smartest and brightest graduates.
If students started courses in 2020 and were unable to travel owing to the pandemic, a coronavirus concession on the date by which they must enter the UK to qualify for the route was recently extended. Applicants who started their studies in the fall of 2020 or the spring of 2021 must be in the UK on a student visa by September 27 of this year.
Students who start their study later this year or early next year will have a head start. “International students are an important part of our society, and graduates from our world-class universities should be able to stay in the UK and develop meaningful careers,” said Universities Minister Michelle Donelan.
“That is why we are establishing this new international graduate route, allowing British businesses to attract and keep some of the brightest, most talented people in the world,” says the minister. "We know that employability is a priority for international students going to study in the UK," said Anne Marie Graham, Chief Executive of the UK Council for International Student Affairs. International students who are eligible to take this route will have the freedom to apply for jobs in any sector or role that matches their skill set, including self-employment, without the need for an employer's permission.