On 11 September 2019, the UK government announced the creation of a new graduate immigration route, which will provide an opportunity for international students who have been awarded their degree to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for two years.
The new route will be open to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at an institution with a track record of compliance with the Home Office’s immigration rules. Students can check the status of institutions before making an application. The status of each institution will be shown in the register of licensed sponsors, which is publicly available on the GOV.UK website at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-licensed-sponsors-students.
Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work or look for work, in the UK for a maximum period of two years. Graduates will also be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.
It is expected that students entering the UK in the 2020-21 academic year intake will be eligible for this route.
The route will be two years long and will require a new application (including a fee) and payment of the Immigration Health Surcharge. The exact fee will be set out in due course.
The route is non-extendable and does not count towards settlement. However, graduates who find an appropriate job and meet the requirements will be able to switch into skilled work, which is a route to settlement.
Plans for the graduate immigration route’s introduction will be set out in due course. Once the route is introduced, those with valid leave as a Tier 4 student, who has successfully completed a course at the undergraduate level or above at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance, will be eligible to apply. Those who graduate and whose leave expires before the route is introduced will not be eligible for it.