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Post study work visa advice

On 11 September 2019 the UK Government announced its intentions to create a new Graduate Immigration Route to be launched in the summer of 2021. International students with a valid Tier 4 or Student visa at the time of application who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance will be able to apply for it.

The new Graduate route represents a significant improvement in our offer to international students that will enable you to work, or look for work in the UK, at any skill level for two years after graduation. The Graduate route will be available to international students who successfully complete their degree at undergraduate level or above at a UK Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance by summer 2021, or after. 

International students who started their course online in September 2020 will still be eligible for the two-year graduate route if they arrive in UK before 6 April 2021 and meet the other requirements of the route. Similarly, students starting a one-year master’s in January 2021 will still be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route – even if they begin studying remotely – provided they are in the UK by 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK.

This is a fantastic opportunity for international students that will help you with your first steps into employment after graduation. More information about the Graduate route is available here.

Key points

  • The new route will be launched in the summer of 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply for the route. 
  • Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years. Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.
  • The graduate immigration route will require a new application. It will include the payment of a visa fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge. The exact fee will be set out in due course.

More information is available from the Home Office factsheet, updated July 2020. However, please note that any information provided so far by the Home Office on the Graduate route can be subject to change. More detailed guidance to applicants and students will be available once the Immigration Rules are published.

Sheffield Hallam University has a track record of immigration compliance and will be able to sponsor international students under this visa category once it becomes available.

In the meantime, international graduates who are not able to apply for the new 'Graduate' visa can consider the following options:

Start-up visa (link to Gov.UK website)

Each year Sheffield Hallam University can endorse up to 15 graduates with a genuine and credible business idea to establish their business in the UK. Please visit Careers Connect for more information.

Tier 2 (General) visa (link to Gov.UK website)

International students on a Tier 4 or Student visa with a job offer for skilled employment from a licensed Tier 2 sponsor can switch into this visa three months before they are about to complete their studies. We organise a number of events throughout the year offering guidance to international students who would like to secure a Tier 2 (General) Visa at the end of their studies.

Other options you can consider are listed on the UKCISA website.

The International Experience Team offers immigration advice on the choices available to international graduates wishing to work in the UK after studies and support with visa applications.

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