The United Kingdom will shortly open a new post-graduate work visa to allow students from India to continue after finishing their studies.
The Graduate Route Visa, revealed last year by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel as part of its latest post-Brexit Point Immigration Scheme and confirmed in the Immigration Rules tabled in Parliament this week, will open for applications from 1 July.
The visa will apply from the 2020-2021 academic class of international students. “As we recover from the global pandemic, we want the best talent in the world, who aspire to a career at the highest levels of industry, science, the arts and technology, to see our United Kingdom as a natural place to fulfil their dreams,” said Kevin Foster, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration.
“The reforms introduced today would mean that after they have secured a gold standard certification from one of our world’s leading education institutions, they can comfortably obtain the status they need to continue living, working and pursuing their aspirations in the UK,” he said.
Students affected by coronavirus travel restrictions and pushed into remote learning last year will have until 21 June to be physically present in the UK to be considered for a new pathway, extended beyond the deadline of 6 April.
Students who started their studies in January or February 2021 would have to be in the UK by 27 September.
“The UK is committed to helping thousands of Indian students in their aspirations to seek world-class UK schooling and post-graduate job opportunities. Given the pandemic travel constraints, these new deadlines to access the United Kingdom would help ensure that foreign students can benefit from the Graduate Route and achieve coveted international job experience,” said Barbara Wickham, Director Indian British Council.
Rules of Procedure and Legislation
To qualify for a recent graduate degree, international students must have completed a qualifying course at a recognised UK higher education provider at a higher or undergraduate level.
Students on the path would be free to work or search for work during their studies for a cumulative duration of two years or three years for PhD students.
The graduation path is not subsidised, which means that candidates would not require a job opportunity to qualify for the route. There will be no minimum wage conditions or number limits, which the Home Office claims will encourage graduates on the path to work flexibly, swap jobs and grow their careers as needed.
The new path is part of the UK Government’s International Education Strategy, which aims to increase the number of international higher education students in the UK to 600,000 by 2030.
The graduation path comes as UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to open another new immigration route to help start-ups and fast-growing businesses attract the talent they need to innovate and expand in their Budget speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday.
“We have been campaigning for this in the UK for more than six years, and this is a promise we have made to our Indian student community, which we are overjoyed to have been able to offer,” said Sanam Arora, Chair of the National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK (NISAU-UK), an umbrella body for Indian students in the UK, PTI news agency.
According to the most recent figures, the number of student visas granted to Indians rose by 42% relative to the previous year – now more than 53,000. This constitutes 23 per cent of all student visas granted by the United Kingdom – up from 13 per cent in the previous year – rendering Indian students among the most significant foreign classes studying in Britain.
“The influx of students between India and the United Kingdom makes the human connection between our countries a ‘living bridge’ even stronger. I am pleased that a growing number of talented Indian students are opting to study in the UK, and even more, so that the Graduate Route would enable them to work in the UK after their studies. Their presence is at the core of the current relationship between India and the United Kingdom,” mentioned Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India.