UK has a renowned education system that is held to strict standards. It is, therefore, unsurprising that UK institutions draw thousands of students from across the globe to its front for higher education every year. Reports based on government data revealed that in 2019-2020 around 540,000 international learners were pursuing their studies in the UK. Regardless of this high number of international students, it was somewhat difficult for them for acquire work opportunities in the UK after successful completion of their courses. Government schemes formerly decreased duration of work visa permit to just 4 months. However, it is starting to transform. The government authorities have presented a new Graduate Route for international learners trying to continue to work after completion of their studies. This scheme provides learners a window to stay back to work to search for job opportunities after conclusion of their course without getting sponsored by an employer. Under this route, international students in the post graduate level can work or search for jobs for 2 years, whilst students in the doctoral programs shall get 3 years’ time.
How to qualify for the UK Graduate Visa Route (for post-study work options in 2022)?
To qualify for a Graduate Route visa, it is important to have an effective Tier 4 visa during the time of application. It will be essential to show that a student has successfully completed the entire course as an enrolled learner in the UK, except for study abroad course or remote programs owing to COVID-19, for what particular adjustments have been settled. Again, it will be essential to show the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) receipt, which would be given out by the university. The nature of the educational qualification mentioned on the CAS receipt need to be exactly the same as the one pursued by the student. Students can get in touch with their respective university in case if they lose their CAS receipt. Students need to remit an amount of roughly £700 as a processing fee with the initial student visa or application for Tier 4 Visa. Again, aspirants will have to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge which will amount to roughly £ 624 every year.
Are students pursuing their courses remotely because of the pandemic eligible for the Visa?
Students might become eligible to apply for one. International learners presently pursuing their studies remotely or studying in a hybrid format owing to pandemic can apply for the Graduate Route Visa, provided that they meet the other criteria under the COVID-19 students’ visa concessions and adjustments.
When is the time for applying for the Graduate route visa?
Students can apply for the Graduate Route Visa only after getting confirmation from their respective universities concerning successful completion of the learning program. As per government regulations, it is not necessary for students to wait till they officially graduate; instead they can start the application process right after receiving their final results.
It is important for students to ensure that they are in the UK while submitting the application, since the Graduate Visa shall get disallowed in case if they apply from outside UK, and they might also lose entitlement to apply for the Graduate Route completely. Also, it is important to ensure that applicants are staying in the UK during the period when they are waiting for a result on the application too, as it might exert an impact on the suitability of the candidate for the route and consequent re-entry in the UK.
In case if the Student Visa or Tier 4 Visa expires after a student applied for the UK Graduate Route, they will still have the permission to stay in the UK until the announcement of the decision. Normally, students are expected to get the announcement within 7-8 weeks from the date of application. Meanwhile, students can continue to work under the common circumstances and stipulations of Tier 4 or Student Visa.
How do I apply for the UK Graduate route visa?
There are mainly two different modes of applying for the Graduate Route Visa, namely, physical (that is, in person) or online. If a student opts for the online process, they need to visit the official website GOV.UK where they can get ample of instructions regarding the processes of creating Visas as well as Immigration accounts, using mobile application for authentication of identity and many others. It is important to have the present Visa permit on hand while applying. After successfully submitting the application, students will receive an eVisa or a Biometric Residence Card, based on the country of origin.
For physical application process, students need to visit the UK Visas and Citizenship Application Services office.
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