Colleagues may have heard about the Government’s plans to create a new ‘Graduate route’. The aim is to provide greater opportunities for international students to remain in the UK for two years to work, once they have successfully completed their studies. Creating a two-year Graduate route will ensure that the UK remains competitive in the global education market and provide a boost to our education sector as it seeks to attract more international students.
The key features of the route will be that:
- It will be open to international students who have successfully completed a course of study at undergraduate (RQF 6) level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance, and who have a valid and extant student visa at the time of application;
- All students starting in 2020/21 will qualify as well as any students who still hold valid Tier 4 leave at the point the route is introduced;
- Students starting courses this September 2019 but not due to graduate until after summer 2021 will be eligible (i.e. those starting courses of three and four years in duration);
- Students starting one year courses this autumn and in January are unlikely to be eligible unless the route is introduced sooner than Summer 2021;
- The leave period granted will be two years and will be non-extendable. Settlement rights will not be accrued;
- There will be an application fee and applicants will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge;
- Applicants will be subject to identity, criminality and security checks;
- Individuals will be able to work, or look for work in any sector, at any level;
- Individuals will be able to switch into the skilled work route if they meet the requirements.