Post Study Work (PSW) Visa is Back – Graduate Route Visa

What is the Graduate Route / Post Study Work Visa?

The Graduate Route is a visa that will be available to students on completion of a higher-level qualification. It was previously referred to as the Post-Study Work Visa (PSW) and will bring back the route that was previously available but stopped in 2012.

The route will be open for applications from the 1st of July 2021, with the UK government stating that is will allow them to “retain the brightest and the best international students to continue to contribute to society and the economy post-study.

Who will be eligible?

Applicants must have successfully completed a Bachelors degree or higher at a UK higher education provider. They must also have “a track record of compliance with the government’s immigration requirements”, which we are assuming means a clean immigration history and not having worked over allowed hours or over staying a previous visa.

Does the Applicant need a job offer?

No, unlike under the Tier 2 (work permit) visa route, applicants will not need to have a job offer, nor to show that the job has been advertised to meet the labour market test. They are also able to switch employers at any time, there aren’t any minimum salary requirements or caps on numbers.

How long is the visa for?

If successful, the applicant will be given permission to live and work in the UK for two years, or three years for Doctoral students.

Additionally the government has stated that:

“Applicants who began their studies in Autumn 2020 will now have until 21 June 2021 to enter the UK (updated from 6 April 2021) in order to be eligible for the Graduate route. Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by 27 September 2021.”

Is this good news?

Yes! This is absolutely brilliant news, as this a measure that will help both international students and UK Universities.

It will be welcome news for many higher education students, who wish to stay in the UK to gain some work experience after completing their studies, as they now can apply for this visa without needing to secure a job offer with a certain salary, as before. It is an apparent return to the valuing of foreign students, as it allows students to gain experience for their next job, be it in the UK or abroad.

It also makes UK degrees competitive in an increasingly crowded sector, as most students would prefer to gain some post-study work experience in the country in which they study. Perhaps the government has realised that foreign students might be put off by the idea of paying tens of thousands to get a UK degree, which in theory they could often gain at a fraction of the cost by studying via remote learning, if they can’t work here afterwards. This new visa is a good strategy in meeting the government’s ambition to increase the number of foreign students to 600,000 by 2030.

As a UK Immigration Solicitor, and having been through the route myself in the past before it was abolished, I think it is sensible to offer international students the chance to stay and contribute further to the UK economy, as well as allowing them to acquire the work experience / skills that would give them a competitive edge on return to their home countries.

This is is a good move, after all, we all benefit from their skills, and they provide additional income and cultural advantages to the universities that they attend. It makes sense to do everything we can to attract them and make them feel valued.

If you have any queries relating to this visa, or any other immigration matter, please give us a call.

Please feel free to share and comment to raise awareness of these changes. Also, if you have been affected by any of these immigration rule changes and need a quick chat with a UK Immigration Solicitor, do not hesitate to contact Tito Mbariti for a free one-off, no-obligation general immigration advice consultation via either phone, WeChat, Facetime or Skype. 

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