A new immigration route has opened today (1 July 2021), allowing international graduates to kick-start their careers in the UK after they have finished their studies at a UK university.
The Graduate route provides an opportunity for talented international graduates who have been awarded their degree from a UK university to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level for at least 2 years.
The new route, part of the points-based immigration system, will help attract the best talent from around the world and ensures that businesses can recruit the most highly qualified from across the globe to complement the skills already in the UK, helping drive the economy forwards as Britain builds back better from the pandemic.
The Graduate route will work for all corners of the UK, ensuring that communities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can benefit from talented individuals who want to build their careers in the UK after their studies.
Home Secretary, Priti Patel said:
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.
Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan said:
International students are a vital part of our society, and those who graduate from our world-leading universities should have the opportunity to stay and build meaningful careers here, in the UK.
That is why we are introducing this new route for international graduates, enabling British businesses to attract and retain some of the brightest, most talented graduates across the globe, and helping this nation build back better from the pandemic.
International graduates must have completed an eligible course at a UK higher education provider, with a track record of compliance with the government’s immigration requirements, to apply to the Graduate route.
The Graduate route is unsponsored, meaning applicants do not need a job offer to apply to the route. There is no minimum salary requirements nor caps on numbers. Graduates on the route can work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required.
A coronavirus concession on the date by which students must enter the UK, if they started courses in 2020 and are unable to travel due to the pandemic, has been extended to 27 September, recognising the continuing disruption many face due to international travel restrictions.
Applicants who began their studies in autumn 2020 or in spring 2021 will need to be in the UK with permission as a student by 27 September 2021. Students beginning their course this autumn or early next year will need to be in the UK by 6 April 2022.
Chief Executive of UK Council for International Student Affairs, Anne Marie Graham said:
We know that employability is a priority for international students coming to study in the UK.
We welcome the Graduate route as a unique opportunity for eligible international graduates to further enhance employability skills and gain experience of the UK labour market for a period after completing their studies. International students who are able to access this route will have the flexibility to apply for work in any sector or role that fits their skills profile, including self-employment, without the need for employer sponsorship.