02 June, 2021
The new, long-awaited, Graduate route?is now open under the UK's points-based immigration system. It is for international students, including EEA students without settled or pre-settled status, who want to work in the UK following the successful completion of a degree at undergraduate level or above in the UK. Unlike certain categories, an applicant to the route will not need to have a job offer to apply and can look for work as the government's objective is to retain competent and skilled graduates who can continue to contribute to the UK economy and society.
The route will contain validation, suitability and eligibility requirements for students wishing to apply for a Graduate visa. If granted, visas will be issued for a period of 2 years (or 3 years for Doctoral students)
Unfortunately, if the student has already completed their course and their visa expires before 1 July, the student is not eligible for the Graduate route and must apply for a different type of visa, for example, a Skilled Worker visa.
The Graduate route does not lead to settlement in the UK - individuals would need to switch to eligible visa categories if settlement is the ultimate aim
The Graduate route has significant benefits for UK employers. The route is unsponsored, meaning that employers will not need to hold a sponsor licence to hire Graduate visa holders and will therefore not have to pay costs associated with it, for example, the immigration skills charge. However, employers will still need to comply with right to work check provisions. The government has also confirmed that there is no minimum salary requirement as there is with other visa categories, and equally there will be no cap on numbers for successful applicants.
Employers who are looking to employ Graduates with sought-after skills will now find that they have a greater pool of individuals to recruit from and may find it advantageous to attend events such as university fairs to put their name out there as a business keen to take on these individuals. This route will be a good way to assess a Graduate's future potential.
Contact Marianne Hessey solicitor and specialist in Business Immigration, if you require any further information about the new Graduate route or if you would like to discuss your business' immigration law requirements more generally.??