Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK
The Graduate Route, also known as the Post-Study Work Visa, is a new immigration category that allows international students who have completed a degree at a UK higher education institution to stay and work in the UK for up to two years after graduation.
To be eligible for the Graduate Route, students must have completed an eligible course at a UK institution as a student or Tier 4 (General) student and must have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa at the time of application. The course must have been a degree level course, such as a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD.
Applications for the Graduate Route are now open. The application fee is £715, and students will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their application.
Successful applicants will be granted a two-year visa with no restrictions on the type of work they can do. They will also be able to switch to other immigration categories, such as the Skilled Worker route, if they find a job that meets the eligibility criteria.
It’s important to note that the Graduate Route does not count towards settlement in the UK, but it does provide a valuable opportunity for international students to gain work experience in the UK after graduation.
If you’re an international student who has completed a degree at a UK institution, the Graduate Route could be a fantastic way to start your career in the UK. Just make sure to check the eligibility criteria and application requirements before applying.
*What happens next?
Multilingual qualified London based immigration specialists will get back to you, usually within 2-3 working days. If you have not attached any documents, then the UK based Law firm may ask for the relevant Case-Specific Document(s) such as Refusal Letters, Deportation Orders, Application Forms etc. Moreover, after reviewing the papers and information, the legal advisor may advise a course of action and quote the fees for processing the application.
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Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK – Validity Requirements
To obtain the Graduate Post Study Work Visa in the UK, an applicant must meet certain validity requirements as specified in Paragraphs GR 1.1. to GR 1.5 of Appendix Graduate.
These requirements outline the minimum criteria that an applicant must fulfill, and any applications failing to meet these requirements will be rejected as invalid.
Before assessing the suitability and eligibility requirements, the Immigration Officer/Home Office will first review the application’s validity based on these guidelines, which include aspects such as the application form, fees and immigration health charge, biometrics and identity documents, immigration status, and government or international scholarship agency awards.
Application Form and Fee for Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK
To apply for permission to stay, an individual must submit an online application via the designated “Graduate” form on the gov.uk website.
As part of the application process, the applicant is required to pay the applicable fees, including any Immigration Health Charge (also known as Immigration Health Surcharge or IHS) for each year of their stay, which typically amounts to £624 per year. Additionally, the current Home Office fee for the Graduate Post Study Visa in the UK as of 2023 is £715.
As part of the application process for the Graduate Post Study Work Visa in the UK, applicants are required to provide their biometric information. This information is then cross-checked with the applicant’s valid passport or other travel document.
Immigration Status for Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK
To apply for the Graduate Post Study Visa, the applicant must already be present in the UK at the time of application and have had permission as a student in the past. It is important to note that the applicant must not have been previously granted permission under the Doctorate Extension Scheme or on the Graduate route.
Furthermore, to be considered for the visa, the applicant must have a valid immigration status, which means that they must either currently hold valid permission on the student or Tier 4 (General) route or have previously held valid permission on these routes. Even if their permission has expired, they may still be eligible if they fall under one of the Paragraph 39E exceptions for overstayers or have been given a period of exceptional assurance and have not overstayed that period. In such cases, any period of overstaying will be disregarded when considering their application.
Before assessing the eligibility of the applicant for the Graduate Post Study Work Visa in the UK, the Home Office reviews their immigration history to ensure they have not previously been granted permission under the Doctorate Extension Scheme or on the Graduate route. If the applicant has previously been granted permission under either of these schemes, the Home Office will reject their application as invalid.
Tier (1 Post-Study Work), IGS, or Future Talent
If a student has previously been granted permission on the Tier 1 (Post-study work) route, International Graduate Scheme (IGS), or the Future Talent Working in Scotland Scheme, they fulfill the validation requirements for the Graduate route. However, if a student has obtained permission on one of these routes in the past, they must complete a new eligible qualification at a Higher Education Provider (HEP) with a record of compliance and possess valid permission as a student when the route is launched. Thus, these students cannot utilize a previous qualification or leave as a student or under Tier 4 to apply for the Graduate route.
Applicants for the 2-year or 3-year Graduate Post Study Work Visa who have completed a course of studies in the UK within the last 12 months and have received full scholarships or sponsorships from a government or international scholarship agency to cover their study fees and living expenses must obtain written consent from the relevant government or agency regarding their application.
GR 1.6. An application which does not meet all the validity requirements for a Graduate is invalid and may be rejected and not considered.
Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK – Suitability Requirements
To obtain permission to remain in the UK through the Graduate route, an applicant’s eligibility is contingent upon meeting the suitability requirements outlined in Paragraphs GR 2.1 and GR 2.2 of Appendix Graduate. These suitability requirements pertain to the applicant’s general eligibility for any type of permission, rather than specifically qualifying as a Graduate Student.
In accordance with Paragraph ST 2.1, applicants must not fall under Part 9, which pertains to general grounds for refusal. Additionally, as stated in Paragraph GR 2.2, applicants must not be in violation of immigration laws, with the exception that any period of overstaying disregarded if Paragraph 39E applies or be on immigration bail.
It is important to note that for the UK Graduate Post Study Visa, the Home Office may conduct verification checks to ensure the authenticity of the supporting documents if any doubts arise.
Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK – Eligibility Requirements
Appendix Graduate outlines the specific eligibility criteria for the Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK under Paragraphs GR 3.1 to GR 6.1. These requirements include points, successful completion, qualification, and study in the UK. Applications that fail to meet these eligibility criteria are rejected.
Points Requirements for Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK
To be eligible for the Graduate Post Study Work Visa, an applicant must obtain a score of 70 points for successfully completing a UK-based qualification that meets the necessary requirements.
Successful Course Completion
To fulfill the Successful Course Completion Requirement, the Home Office initially verifies the Register of Student sponsors to ensure that the Student Sponsor is a Higher Education Provider (HEP) with a history of compliance on the application date. It is worth noting that HEPs sponsors are categorized as “Student sponsor – track record” on the Register of Student Sponsors.
Subsequently, the Immigration Officer at the Home Office examines whether the applicant has successfully completed the course of study undertaken during their previous grant of permission to study on the student route or their last study permission before serving as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer (SUSO) on the student route. The requirement may also be met by students who hold two consecutive periods as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer after their studies. If the applicant was allowed to change their course of study under the Immigration Rules without seeking further student permission, this requirement only applies to the modified course.
The Student Sponsor must inform the Home Office that the applicant has successfully completed their course of study before the date of the leave to remain application under the Graduate route. This is usually done through a bulk upload notification by the sponsor.
If the Home Office does not receive the notification from the Student Sponsor, but the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) indicates that the applicant was studying a qualifying qualification, the Immigration Officer does not immediately refuse the application if it meets other requirements. Instead, the Home Office will typically contact the Sponsor to verify that the applicant has indeed completed their course of study.
Qualification Requirements for Graduate Post Study Visa UK
To be eligible for the Graduate Post Study Work Visa in the UK, the Immigration Officer (Home Office) verifies whether the applicant has completed a course of study that leads to a UK bachelor’s or postgraduate degree, or a relevant qualification listed in Appendix Graduate GR.5.2. The officer also confirms whether the applicant obtained the qualification during their last period of permission to study or in the period immediately prior to undertaking a role as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer. It’s worth noting that candidates who have served two consecutive periods as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer after their studies meet the qualification requirements for the Graduate Post Study Work Visa in the UK.
Certain professions in the UK require individuals to have specific qualifications, either in addition to or instead of a degree, in order to practice legally. These professions are regulated by UK law or public authorities, and the qualifications required for these professions are also considered eligible under the Graduate route. The following qualifications are examples of those that are accepted:
- A law conversion course, validated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (previously referred to as the ‘Joint Academic Stage Board’), in England and Wales.
- The Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland.
- The Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland.
- A foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry.
- A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
Professional courses that are regulated by UK law or public authority and involve the study of a profession with reserved activities at UK bachelor’s degree level or above are also considered as meeting the qualification requirement for the Graduate Post Study Work Visa. Examples of professions with reserved activities include, but are not limited to, medical doctors, architects, lawyers, teachers, and nurses.
Study in the UK Requirement for Graduate Post Study Visa
In order to evaluate the Study in the UK requirement, the Home Office takes into account all instances of Student permission granted for the purpose of studying the eligible qualification that the applicant eventually completed with success. This means that if an applicant was unable to complete their studies in one period of Student permission due to reasons such as maternity leave or sickness, and as a result, deferred their studies and finished the course later on with Student permission, all of those periods will be taken into account.
An applicant who started their PhD course in the UK, went overseas for research (as part of their qualification), and either had their sponsorship withdrawn or was not granted permission as a Student for that period, can still meet the Study in the UK requirement if they subsequently returned to the UK as a Student to complete their course successfully. This applies as long as the total length of all those periods of permission meets the relevant requirement.
Course Duration 12 Months or More
If a course begins on 30 September 2023 and ends on 29 September 2024, it is considered 12 months long. Any course that starts on 30 September 2023 or later and ends after 30 September 2024 is considered longer than 12 months.
If an applicant applied for a Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa before their course began and started the course before receiving permission (as allowed in the Student route), the time spent studying in the UK prior to permission being granted will also be counted towards the study in the UK requirement. This includes the period from the course start date, as indicated on their CAS, to the date of permission being granted. The same applies to applicants who were permitted to start their course before receiving permission due to Covid-19 concessions.
Course Duration 12 Months or Less
To meet the Study in the UK requirement, applicants who studied a course lasting 12 months or less are required to have completed their entire period of study in the UK (or on authorized study abroad programs, if applicable) under either the student route or the former Tier 4 (General) route.
At Least 12 months of permission
If the applicant studied a course that lasted for more than 12 months, they must have been granted at least 12 months of Student or Tier 4 (General) permission. All their study time should have taken place in the UK during at least 12 months of that permission period, except for permitted study abroad programs. For articulation programs, the final year of study in the UK is considered as the eligible course, and the relevant requirement of study in the UK applies based on the length of that course. However, an applicant who completes the first year of an articulation program in the UK and finishes the course overseas will not be eligible.
If the applicant studied their whole course while holding permission on a route other than the student route or former Tier 4 (General), such as a dependant visa, they will not meet this requirement.
If a course lasting longer than 12 months was completed using a combination of immigration routes, the applicant must have spent the minimum required time as a Student or Tier 4 migrant in the most recent period of permission.
Study abroad programmes
Participating in permitted study abroad programmes will not hinder the student from fulfilling the study in the UK requirement.
The Covid-19 concession permitted distance learning on the student route. Students who began a course lasting 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 via distance learning, and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate application if they make a successful Student visa application and arrive in the UK either before their permission ends or by 27 September 2021, whichever is sooner.
Such Students need to complete their course in the UK when they enter if they have not already completed their course while they were studying overseas.
Any period of distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, undertaken as part of a course of study lasting longer than 12 months whilst the applicant held permission as a student or Tier 4 (General) migrant, will not prevent the applicant from meeting the requirement to spend the relevant period studying in the UK.
Once concessions on distance learning for the student route end, students will be required to attend face to face learning in the UK in accordance with the academic engagement policy.
Where distance learning took place overseas between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, this will not prevent the applicant meeting the studying in the UK requirement if:
- they began their course in 2020 and entered the UK on or before 27 September 2021 and complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a student; or
- they began their course in 2021 and entered the UK before 27 September 2021 and complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a student
Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)
Applicants do not need a new CAS to apply under the Graduate route, but they will need to provide the CAS reference for the relevant Student permission when making an application.
Please note, information on the CAS links to the most recent period of permission as a student or Tier 4 (General) migrant in the immigration history. Accordingly, the Home Office use this to determine whether an applicant meets relevant requirements of the Graduate route.
Change of Course
The Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules defines “Successfully completed” and “course of study”. Both definitions include courses to which a student is permitted to change without having to make a further Student immigration application.
Accordingly, for getting UK graduate post study work visa, an applicant needs to have the qualification award for the course listed on the CAS issued for the relevant period of Student or Tier 4 (General) permission, unless the student has changed course as permitted within the student route. This includes:
- undertaking a different course at degree level or above, where the student is sponsored by an HEP with a track record which confirmed at the time of change that the previous and new courses are related or support the student’s career aspirations
- adding or removing a work placement to the course
- adding or removing a study abroad programme
- leaving an integrated PhD or master’s programme with the lower level qualification (for example, leaving an integrated master’s programme with a bachelor’s qualification)
- intercalating students on medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine and science courses
- completing a course where the sponsor has changed the course title or the course contents after issuing the CAS, but without the Student needing to make a further application
Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules
“Course of study” means the course for which a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned, or a new course with the person’s current student sponsor which they were permitted to study without applying for further permission on the Student route.
“Successfully completed” means the Student or Child Student has completed their course and been assessed by their sponsor, and has been or will be awarded, a qualification that is:
(a) for the course of study for which their Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned; or
(b) a degree at either UK Bachelor’s degree level or UK postgraduate degree level, as part of an integrated programme for which their Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned; or
(c) for the course of study with their student sponsor to which they were allowed to change without applying for further permission on the Student route.
Notification to the Home Office
If a student has changed course, the sponsoring institution needs to notify the Home Office of the change of course via the Sponsor Management System (SMS) prior to the submission of the Graduate application. If the award is for a different qualification than listed on the CAS, then the Immigration Officer usually checks that the sponsor has notified to confirm the change of course.
How to Apply Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK?
The Graduate route allows applicants to make and submit applications using a complete digital process (AUK2). The applicant will upload their own documents, complete a live scan (similar to a ‘selfie’) and will receive a digital status if their application is successful. The applicant will receive an e-mail confirming their digital status and this will include a PDF of their decision letter.
Please note, visa nationals (such as applicants with Indian, Pakistani, Nigerian citizenship) will also receive a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
BRP for Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK
For the Graduate route, the applicant needs their BRP to use the complete digital service. However, they may not be able to use it, if
- they have lost their BRP
- the chip in their BRP is damaged and hence cannot be read by the app
- they are not able to use the app
- they are unable to receive their decision by e-mail
If an applicant is unable to use the complete digital process, they can complete the application process and attend a VAC to enrol their biometrics and upload their documents (AUK1). Applicants who are routed through the Access UK 1 path due to an exception will receive a BRP only.
Duration of Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK
The period of permission to be granted to an applicant is dependent on the type of course studied and set out at Appendix Graduate GR.8.1. An applicant who has successfully completed a PhD or other doctoral qualification must be granted 3 years from the date of decision. Applicants who have successfully completed any other eligible qualification must be granted 2 years from the date of decision.
An applicant whose CAS was assigned for an integrated PhD but who successfully completes the lower postgraduate qualification must be granted 2 years from the date of decision
Refusal of Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK
There are no appeal rights against refusal of Graduate Visa UK. However, if an application for permission to stay is refused under the points-based system and the applicant thinks the Home Office has made an error in considering their application, then can apply for an administrative review. Please note after refusal of the administrative review, one can file a Judicial Review to challenge the rejection decision.
FAQs: Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK
Does UK Give Post Study Work Visa?
Yes, under the New Graduate route a student who has completed bachelor’s degree or above in the UK can apply for 2-Year (or 3-Year in case of PhD) post study work visa.
Who is Eligible for Graduate Post Study Work Visa UK?
A student, who has completed a bachelor’s degree or above in the UK, is eligible to apply for Graduate Post Study Work Visa in the UK.
How Many Years of Work Permit in UK after Study?
Minimum 2-year post study work permit in UK; however, for PhD students the duration of post study work visa is 3-Years after study.