Graduate Route for International Students opens on 1 July

Official Updates

March 09, 2021

The route is for international students who want to work following the successful completion of a course of study at UK bachelor’s degree level or above.  


The Home Office has released major updates on the post-study work visa scheme. The new Graduate route, which allows international graduates in the UK to work or look for work after their studies for 2 years (those with an undergraduate or postgraduate degree) or 3 years (doctoral students), will be open for applications starting July 1, 2021. 



Coronavirus concessions for students unable to travel to the UK due to the pandemic have also been extended, recognising the disruption many faced or continue to face, due to international travel restrictions.

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. 


Under this route, the bright and the best international students will be able to stay on in the UK to search for job. At the time of applying, they need to have

  • Completed an eligible course at a UK higher education institute
  • Track record of compliance with the government’s immigration requirements
  • A valid current Tier 4/Student visa  

The course must be either

  • an undergraduate degree
  • a Masters degree
  • a PhD degree or other doctoral qualification

or one of these qualifications listed in paragraph GR 5.2 of Appendix Graduate of the immigration rules. You should have completed this course during your period of Student Visa validity. And for the same course for which you secured your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) certification, with some exceptions. You should check with your Student Route sponsor i.e your higher education institution for checking your eligibility. 


Application fees

The visa fee will be around £700. You will also be required to pay the immigration health surcharge charged at £624 per year of the visa.


Where is the graduate route applicable?

According to the latest guidelines issued by the Home Office, the Graduate route will work for all corners of the UK. This means that graduating international students can search for jobs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


What does the Graduate Route mean for you?

  • The Graduate Route increases potential employability outcomes for UK institutions. It ensures that the students can easily secure the status they need to continue living, working and fulfilling their dreams in the UK.
  • As detailed in the Immigration Rules laid in Parliament (4 March), the new route will open for applications on 1 July 2021, to international students who successfully complete a degree at undergraduate level or above in the UK.
  • The Graduate route will be unsponsored, meaning applicants will not need a job offer to apply for the route. There will be no minimum salary requirements nor caps on numbers. Graduates on the route will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required.  

Do you still need a Skilled Worker Visa?

Short answer: YES. 
Once the two years under the Graduate Route come to an end, you will need to find a job and/or employer who will sponsor you on a Skilled Worker visa. This means that in order for you to continue working in the UK, eventually, Skilled Worker Visa is only how you will be able to do that.

Additionally, you should also consider this:

1. Many graduate schemes in the UK run for 36 months. Even if you stay on under the Graduate Route, it will only allow you to live and work in the UK for 2 years. 
2. The time you spend in the UK under the Graduate Route does not count towards the settlement, should you wish to apply for ILR.

Updates will follow from the Home Office. Stay updated on our blog

Photo by
Jurica Koletić on Unsplash

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