The UK Government on 14th October 2019 published a new graduate immigration route for international students to remain in the UK for two years following the completion of their studies; the Home Office blog can be accessed here.
The key details are outlined below.
This new graduate immigration route is available for international students who have completed their undergraduate or above higher education. To be eligible students must have complied with immigration rules throughout their time in the UK and must have a valid Tier 4 visa when making the application. Successful applicants will be allowed to stay and work at any skill level (or look for work) in the UK for two years.
Students will not need to have a sponsor or Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Tier 4 sponsors will not be required to fulfil sponsorship duties for their students if they switch to the graduate immigration route, however they will still be responsible for the students. Graduates will also be able to switch into skilled work once they have secured suitable employment. The route will open in the summer of 2021 for graduates (who will graduate on or after summer 2021) to apply for. Students whose Tier 4 visa expires before summer 2021 and students who will graduate before summer 2021, will not be able to make use of this route. They can however switch into skilled work route instead. The graduate immigration route does not count towards settlement and it is non-extendable. However graduates who switch in skilled work can then apply for settlements once they fulfil the requirements.
A new application will need to be made and will require payment for visa fees and Immigration Health Surcharge – currently the fees have not been released. This new graduate immigration route for international students has been created by the UK government to help increase education exports to £35 billion and the number of international higher education students to 600,000 by 2030. Please read the full blog on the link outlined in the beginning of this article for more information.