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The Points-Based Immigration System: The New Graduate Visa Immigration Route (1 July 2021)

Date: 01/07/2021
Duncan Lewis, Business Immigration Solicitors, The Points-Based Immigration System: The New Graduate Visa Immigration Route

The much anticipated new immigration category for international students in the UK has been introduced from the 1 July 2021. The Graduate visa route provides an opportunity for international students who have received their degree, to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level for two years, or three years for doctoral (PhD) students.

The main advantage is that the Graduate visa route is an unsponsored route, meaning that you do not need a job offer to apply under this route. This provides more flexibility to work, switch jobs and develop your career in the UK as required. International students can also engage in self-employment under this route.


The Graduate visa route is available to international students who have completed an undergraduate degree or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance and who have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa at the time of application.

The greatest benefit of the Graduate visa route is that you do not need to show funds or finance and you do not need to demonstrate an English language ability when applying. You would have proved your English language ability by successfully completing your degree at a UK university. Lastly, there is no maintenance requirement under this route.

Conditions of Graduate route?

Whilst on a Graduate Visa you may undertake additional studies, however certain restrictions apply.
Dependants already in the UK on a Student Dependant visa may apply as a dependant of a graduate at the same time as the Graduate applies under this route.

However, you are not permitted to bring new dependants on the Graduate visa route. The Graduate visa route is non–extendable and does not count towards settlement in the UK (permanent stay or also known as indefinite leave to remain). Nevertheless, if you find suitable employment, you will be able to switch into various routes from the Graduate visa route.

When should you apply to the Graduate route?

You should only apply once your university has sent you your final course results. You should not apply before this. However, you do not have to wait until you have completed your graduation ceremony to apply.

Switch to Skilled Worker route

One of the potential benefits under this route is that whilst you are on the Graduate visa, you may be able to switch to the Skilled Worker route if you meet the relevant requirements, which allows you do undertake an eligible job with an approved employer. The Skilled Worker visa permits you to apply for indefinite leave to remain after you have a held a visa under this category for five years.

For further information, please contact the author Sherika Kuruparan, trainee solicitor in the business immigration department by emailing SherikaK@Duncanlewis.com or calling 02031141144.

She is supervised by director and solicitor Vicash Ramkissoon, if you would like to contact Vicash please email VicashR@Duncanlewis.com.

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