A new graduate immigration route has been announced by the UK Government, known as a post-study work visa. This Visa allows students to remain in the UK for two years in order to find employment after finishing their studies.
The United Kingdom is a hub for international students, attracting the brightest minds from all corners of the world, and the new graduate route will provide one more reason to complete higher education in the UK.
International students who wish to stay in the UK after graduation to find work will be able to apply for the post-study Visa. As of September 2020, students in possession of a Tier 4 visa will be allowed to remain in the UK for two years after their studies, if they have graduated from a recognised, licensed visa sponsor.
In September 2019 a similar visa policy was put in place, however, it was limited to students on Master’s, PhD and STEM fields degrees. This policy is now extended to students studying full-time degrees in any academic discipline, starting in the academic year 2020 with a licensed visa sponsor university. Students are not eligible if they are studying short-courses, language training courses, Baccalaureate, or A-levels.
Students who arrived before 2020
This visa is available to students who enrol in the 2020/21 academic year. However, if your Tier 4 Visa expires after summer 2021 (when the post-study visa will be launched) you might still be eligible for the new policy. Unfortunately, students whose visa expires before the launch date will not be permitted to obtain the post-study visa.
Therefore, if you begin a masters course in the year 2020/21 or later you will be eligible for the post-study work visa. If you started a three-year degree programme in 2019 or later, and you will graduate in the summer of 2021, you might be eligible for the visa, as you will have a Tier 4 student visa at the time that the new policy will be launched.
Length of the Visa
The post-study visa is valid for two years and allows you to seek employment in the United Kingdom. You will not be able to extend your stay with this visa. If you find a job which meets the requirements of the skilled work route, you will be able to apply for an appropriate work visa and remain in the UK.
Cost of the Visa
Students are required to apply for the post-study work visa before their Tier 4 visa expires, from within the UK. You will need to pay a fee, however, the amount of the fee is still to be set by the UK government. Aside from the visa application fees, students will be required to pay the immigration health surcharge as standard for all visa applications.
Can Universities be my Sponsor?
Universities are not expected to act as sponsors to graduates on a post-study visa. Students will not be required to obtain a CoS (Certificate of Sponsorship) to apply for the graduate route work visa.
What effect will Brexit have?
The post-study work visa is available to all students on a Tier 4 visa. Currently, students from the European Union are treated as home students and do not require a study nor work visa. It is important to keep in mind that as the outcomes of Brexit unfold, European students may require a Tier 4 visa in the future.
The graduate route will be available to all international students who hold a Tier 4 visa when the post-study work visa is launched. Brexit will most likely not have much influence when it comes to applying for the new visa policy. The only difference will be that EU students will need to apply in the same way as non-EU students.
Why is the UK introducing this visa?
The main reason for the new post-study work visa is that the United Kingdom wants to attract the best and brightest students from across the world. So far thousands of international students have enrolled in higher education in the UK, and the country wants to create an incentive for more students to do so in the future.
Why should I stay in the UK?
The UK is amongst the most popular countries in the world for education, due to its high-quality universities and highly-regulated academic staff. Getting a degree from the UK is an impressive achievement and opens up the global job market to the graduates. With the post-study Visa, you will be able to work in the UK and gain experience from the market leaders and highly reputable companies. This will not only benefit you through the skills and knowledge you will acquire, but also will show your future employers that you are career-oriented and strive for the very best.