The Graduate Route is a new work route
for those who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a UK
Higher Education Provider (with a track record of compliance) from 1 July onwards. Your application
does not need sponsorship or any endorsement by an employer or by your
Applications open on 1 July 2021.
details of the scheme have not yet been released but you can find the most up
to date information here: the Home Office.
after Studies webpage is also an excellent source to refer to.
To find out more, please come to one of our live Zoom sessions during the following times and dates:
If you can’t make one of our Zoom sessions, you can watch this excellent video from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).
Here is the information we know so far as at March 2021:
When do I need to arrive in the UK if I want to apply for the Graduate Route?
The usual expectation of the Graduate Route is that you study your course fully in the UK. However, the government has recognised that some students have needed to study remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are studying remotely in the 2020/21 academic year, you need to arrive in the UK, with a valid Tier 4 / Student visa by the dates listed below:
- Masters courses started in Sep/Oct 2020: 21 June 2021 (previously 6 April)
- Masters courses started Jan 2021: 27 September 2021
- Undergraduate and PhD students completing in summer 2021: before visa expires
- Longer courses finishing after Summer 2021: Remote study during 2020/21 should be disregarded when considering your GIR application as long as you return and complete your course in the UK.
Make sure you understand the full implications of travelling to the UK under the restrictions of the current pandemic by reading the government webpage: Entering the UK
- Must be on a Tier 4 or Student visa.
- You must have successfully completed your degree programme. The University will need to confirm this directly to the Home Office (details of this system have not been confirmed yet by the Home Office).
- Must apply from within the UK before Tier 4 / Student visa expires. It is not possible to apply for the Graduate visa outside the UK.
- You will need the CAS number that you used for your most recent Tier 4 / Student visa application.
Please refer to the UKCISA webpage for further information: Working after Studies
How much will it cost me?
You will need to make the following payments at the point of application, likely by debit or credit card:
- Application fee: £700 per applicant.
- Immigration Health Surcharge: £624 per year. Undergraduate and masters graduates will pay £1248 for a two year visa, PhD graduate will pay £1872 for a three year visa.
There is no requirement to show you have a certain amount of money (known as the 'maintenance requirement') in a bank account. However, you will of course still need money to pay your living costs. Do you have enough money to support yourself until you find work? What is your back up plan if you do not find work? As with your Tier 4 or Student permission you will not have access to public funds, including any welfare benefits aimed at those who are not working or on a low income.
How feasible is it for you to find a job in the UK under the current circumstances? Seek advice from our Careers Service.
How can I apply?
Applications open at 09:00 on 1 July 2021. You can only apply in the UK. There is no provision to apply in your home country or in any other country other than the UK. If you are currently outside the UK with valid Tier 4 or Student permission, you will need to travel to the UK before it expires and refer to the question above ‘When do I need to arrive in the UK if I want to apply for the Graduate Route?’.
Can dependants join me on this Graduate Route?
Your partner and/or child under 18 who is already in the UK as your Tier 4 or Student dependant can apply to extend their stay as your Graduate Route dependant.
A partner or child who is outside the UK cannot apply for a visa as your Graduate Route dependant. They would need to apply as your Student dependant, if eligible, and come to the UK on that basis then apply for permission to stay on as your Graduate Route dependant.
You will likely need to pay the same application and Immigration Health Surcharge fees for each dependant.
What type of work can I do?
While your Graduate Route application is pending, you can continue to work under the conditions of your Student or Tier 4 permission. See Student work.
When your Graduate Route permission is issued you can do any work, either employed or self-employed, except working as a professional sportsperson or coach. You can take work at any level of salary or skill, but if your plan is to find a job for which you can eventually be sponsored under the Skilled Worker route, you should check which jobs are eligible for that.
Employers should know about the new Graduate Route, and they should understand that with this permission you can take any work you wish without sponsorship and without any special actions for the employer. However you may be their first employee with Graduate Route permission, and they may not fully understand the route at first. You can refer their HR to this very basic guidance from the Home Office for employers.
If you want to set up as self-employed, see the detailed guidance from the UK government about all the steps and requirements. If you want to continue your business when your Graduate Route permission expires, you will need to meet the requirements of an extension under the Start-up and innovator schemes.
Can I study on the Graduate Route?
Study is restricted under the Graduate Route. The study condition states that you cannot study any course which could in theory be sponsored under the Student route.
Examples of permitted study therefore include:
- Part-time undergraduate course
- English language courses
- Some professional courses
- Any study at a college or university that is not a Student route visa sponsor
- Online study
- Evening classes
- Recreational courses
Graduate Route dependants do not have this study restriction.
Can I speak to an advisor?
To find out more and to see if you qualify, please come to one of our live Zoom sessions during the following times and dates: