Are you applying for a working visa in the UK? You might be circumspect about your eligibility and chances of approval. The Covid-19 pandemic is causing several significant decisions to take a backseat for a while. However, when it comes to immigration policies, their rules and regulations, is there any hope?
It turns out there is.
The coronavirus outbreak is forcing people all over the world to change their lifestyles and attitudes. Moreover, rules and restrictions are also seeing relaxations to accommodate people. In the UK, the immigration policy is seeing certain flexibilities as well.
The UK Government is bringing out a change in their immigration policy, which allows international students to work in the country for 3 years after completing their graduation. This new policy is welcoming news for students who were worrying about their work visas.
What Are the Changes in the Immigration Policy?
Up until the Covid-19 global pandemic, international students graduating from university courses in the UK would have to wait for eligibility for a work permit. Several defining factors would eventually decide if they are eligible or not. Even so, their post-graduation work permit did not extend for more than a few months.
The coronavirus outbreak is forcing these industries to make specific changes in their policies. These changes are advantageous not only for international students hoping to work in the UK but for the country itself.
The Graduate Route is a work visa that international students can apply for. These students must be graduating from their courses either in the summer or 2021 or later. This new system is going to help those students who are unable to complete their studies on campuses in the UK.
Read More: UK Government Offers One “Grace Period” for Visa Extension for International Students
What Are The Benefits of This New System?
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most countries over the globe see intermittent lockdowns and travel restrictions. This is a critical issue for international students. They are unable to travel to the UK from their home countries to pursue their courses. No one knows when they can travel freely again.
Since students cannot travel to campus for completing their degrees, they incessantly worry about their eligibility for work visas.
However, the UK Government understands these concerns and is thus relaxing some old policies.
- Students who are unable to travel to the UK due to travel restrictions may start their degrees online. They can study remotely for all their courses without applying for a Tier-4 student visa.
- UK Visa and Immigration office will issue visa vignettes for 90 days (against the standard 30 days). This ultimately gives students a longer window to travel to the UK.
- Successful applications are eligible for a work visa in the UK for two years (postgraduates), while PhD students can stay and work for three years.
- In case you are unemployed after completing your course, it isn’t an issue. The period of your unemployment will not adversely affect the length of your post-study work visa in the UK.
- Students do not require any sponsorship to apply for the Graduate Route.
- There are no restrictions or caps on the number of students who wish to apply for the Graduate Route.
- There is no minimum salary level for those applying for the Graduate Route. You can apply for more advanced roles relating to your field of study. Furthermore, you can also choose to develop your CV or explore other job options.
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Who Is Eligible for the Graduate Route Visa?
To be eligible for the Graduate Route visa, you must be graduating from a UK university. Moreover, it would be best if you held a Tier-4 visa when the system is being introduced in 2021. Students who are pursuing Postgraduate, Undergraduate, and PhD’s are also eligible- as long as they graduate in the summer of 2021 or later.
Some examples of postgraduate courses are:
- One-year Masters program which begins in the 2020-21 academic year, or later
- Two-year Masters program which begins in the 2019-20 academic year, or later
- Three-year Masters program or PhD which begins in 2018-19 academic year, or later
Read More: UK Government has Confirmed Visa Extension for International Students in the UK
What Do You Do If Your Graduate Route Visa Expires?
You will be eligible for either a 2-year or a 3-year work visa in the UK under the Graduate Route visa. However, once this visa expires, you will have to apply for a different type of visa to continue working there. This can be a Tier-2 General work visa or other kinds of visas.
However, keep in mind that to apply for the Tier-2 General Work Visa, you will need to have a minimum skill and salary level. Moreover, it would be best if you had an employment offer with a company in the UK.
The good news is that your Graduate Route Visa will enable you to gain this level of skill and experience. After you complete the two years with your Graduate Route Visa, you will be able to apply for a different type of visa and continue working in the UK. Additionally, you may also consider applying for permanent residency.
Read More: UK Government Launches New Points-Based Visa System for International Students
Do You Need to Pay a Fee for the Graduate Route Visa?
Yes, you will need to pay a certain fee amount to access the Graduate Route visa. Furthermore, you also need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge for each additional year that you will spend in the UK.
This new policy is an extremely welcome change that international students can significantly benefit from. However, if you are under pressure to complete your course via distance learning, there is some relief for you too.
You will still be eligible for the post-study work permit in the UK, provided you attend at least one semester of your course in the UK. This means that you will have to arrive in the country by April 6, 2021, and then complete a semester physically from your university.
The Graduate Route visa is available for all international students on a Tier-4 visa. Additionally, EU and EAA students do not require a visa currently to study in the UK. The option to complete your course via distance learning will provide an excellent opportunity for young students looking to work in the UK in the future.