From 1 July 2021, international students who have successfully completed a course of study in the UK at bachelor’s degree level or above, will be able to stay on in the UK and work.
The new graduate visa will be granted for a period of two years – or three years for Doctoral students – subject to the applicant having a track record of compliance with the Home Office.
At the date of application, the applicant will need to hold a valid student visa and concessions will be available to students who have been unable to travel to the UK or faced disruption due to Covid-19. Applications must be made from within the UK and are set to cost £700. In addition to this, the Immigration Health Surcharge will be charged at the full rate of £624 per year (rather than at the discounted student rate).
The benefit of applying for this visa is that neither sponsorship nor a job offer is required, and the applicant can work in a job at any skill level. There is also no minimum salary requirement, and graduates will be permitted to switch jobs when necessary, in order to develop their careers.
At the end of the two or three years, depending on the level of study completed, the applicant will have the option to switch to another visa route, such as the skilled worker visa, subject to them meeting the relevant requirements.
While the graduate visa will not be extendable nor lead to settlement, the skilled worker route does, and will be a good option to switch into for those who eventually wish to settle in the UK.