Information about the new Graduate Route
The UK government has announced the intention of launching a 2 year (or 3 year for PhD) Graduate Immigration visa from 1st July 2021.
Students who have had relevant formal communication that they have successfully passed their course and are now able to apply for the Graduate Route, and who have studied a Bachelors, Masters or PhD (or other course as detailed in the information further down this page), should be able to apply- subject to meeting all further requirements.
All students will need to be in the UK and hold valid Tier 4 or Student Route immigration status to apply.
IMPORTANT: Students completing their course this summer or autumn 2021 may need to be in the UK by a certain date to apply (please see the UK arrival date requirements section below).
Basics of the Graduate Route application:
- Can only be made from within the UK
- Can only be made by someone who currently has a valid Tier 4 or Student Route visa and has had that visa for at least 12 months (for courses of 12 months of more) or for the whole of their course (for courses of 12 months or less)
- Can only be made after a course has been successfully and formally completed, formal results produced and reporting communications between the University and the UKVI have taken place
- The University will automatically send an email, including the individual CAS number you need for the Graduate Route application, to all eligible students once UKVI reporting has taken place and they are able to apply for the Graduate Route (you cannot apply before you get that email/number or your application will be refused)
- The course completed must be the same one as the one on the student's initial course CAS (unless exempt- details to follow once the route has opened)
- Will be made online using the UKVI IDV app (details regarding that to follow once released by the UKVI)
- Will cost £700 for the application (plus £700 each for any dependants)
- Will have no additional maintenance requirement
- Will be subject to the Immigration Health Surcharge., which must be paid at point of application for each applicant (currently £624 per year)
- Will automatically be granted for 2 years (Bachelors/Masters)
- Will automatically be granted for 3 years (PhD)
- Can only be used to support dependants who are already dependants on the main applicant's Tier 4 or Student Route visa (you cannot switch the main applicant or add new dependants under this route)
- Cannot be renewed or applied for again (even after another period of study)
- Does not count towards settlement
- Permits in UK switching into other work categories
Please see the further available information section below for a more detailed breakdown of what we know so far (as of 11th June 2021)
Concessions around the Graduate route due to COVID can be found in the UKVI COVID Concessions Guidance in paragraphs 3.21-3.27.
These include details of when students who may have been studying via distance learning overseas need to be in the UK in order to be eligible for the Graduate Route. We have detailed these for you below (updated 11th June 2021) and you need to read each scenario carefully to see which one applies to you.
3.24 Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 via distance learning, and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate application if they make a successful Student visa application and arrive in the UK either before their visa ends or by 27 September 2021, whichever is sooner.
N.B. This means any student who started a 12 month or less course in 2020 or 2021 (e.g. September 2020 or January 2021 starters), and who has not yet studied any part of that course in the UK, must gain a Student Route visa and be present and studying in the UK by 27th September 2021 or before their visa expires , whichever is sooner to be eligible for the Graduate Route.
3.25 Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 who have existing permission as a Student to study that course, and who have https://www.swansea.ac.uk/international-campuslife/immigration/applying-for-a-visa/ travelled to the UK during that period of permission, will be able to make a Graduate application as long as they are present in the UK before the end date of their permission.
N.B. This means that if you started your 12 month or less course in 2020 or 2021 and you have already studied part of that course in the UK (even if you have subsequently left), you must be present and studying in the UK before your Student Route visa expires.
3.27 Students sponsored for a course lasting longer than 12 months will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate route as a result of any distance learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021.
N.B. This means if you are studying a course of more than 12 months, you will still be able to apply for the Graduate Route, even if you were studying via distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27th September 2021. This means we recommend you re-enter the UK by 27th September 2021 or before your visa expires, whichever is sooner.
Please make sure that you read the above information carefully so you know when you need to return to the UK.
The UKVI released some information in their July 2020 document: The UK's Points-Based Immigration System Further Details and in an online Factsheet and a Statement of Changes (to the Immigration Rules) which were updated/released on 4th March 2021. As of 11th June 2021, we are still waiting for the UKVI to release detailed Policy Guidance. This may not become availbale until after the route opens and may be subject to change while the route 'settles' into practice.
Information from these updated, or new, sources is included below:
From these resources we know that the Graduate route will be launched on 1st July 2021 to provide international students the opportunity to stay in the UK to work or look for work after they graduate. Undergraduate and master's degree students will be able to stay for two years under the route, whilst PhD students will be able to stay for three years. Graduates will be able to later switch into other routes in the UK- providing they meet the relevant requirements for that route. This will include the ability to switch into work routes if they are able to meet the requirements. Residency in the UK under the Graduate route will not count towards settlement.
It will be an unsponsored route. All successful applicants will be granted a one-time non-extendable leave period of two years/three years on this route and will be able to work, or look for work, at any skill level during this period. The route will also be Points-Based, with the full number of points being awarded for the successful completion of a degree from a UK Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance.
The current Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES), open to international students who have completed a PhD in the UK and allowing them to remain and work here for 12 months after completing their studies, will be closed at the point the new Graduate Route is introduced.
Who can apply?
The Graduate route will be open to international students, who have valid leave as a Tier 4 (General) Student or under the Student Route at the time of application and who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above (e.g. B.A., B.Eng., BSc., MA, MEng, MSc, PHD) at a UK Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance during that grant of leave.
The 4th March 2021 Statement of Changes includes some specified courses, non degree courses, that are also permissable:
(a) a law conversion course validated by the Joint Academic Stage Board in England and Wales; or
(b) the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland; or
(c) the Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland; or
(d) a foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry; or
(e) a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE); or (
f) a professional course requiring study at UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities that is regulated by UK law or UK public authority
If you are not studying one of the courses above (for example you are studying a PGDip or PGCert.) then we understand that you will not be eligible for the Graduate route
Students must have completed the course which was stated on the CAS used to apply for their latest Tier 4/Student visa (where the a student was allowed to change their course of study without applying for further permission as a Student, this requirement only applies to the course to which they changed).
Applicants must have completed the minimum of their degree in the UK as per the table below:
|Total length of course||Relevant period of Student permission granted during which all study took place in the UK (apart from permitted study abroad programmes)|
|12 months or less||12 months or less Full duration of course|
|Longer than 12 months||At least 12 months|
The only exception is xcept for permitted study abroad programmes or when distance learning has been necessary due to Covid-19. Concessions around the Graduate route due to COVID can be found in the UKVI COVID Concessions Guidance in paragraphs 3.20-3.27.
The route will not have a maintenance requirement and applicants will not need to demonstrate English language ability as they will already have proved English language ability by successfully completing a degree at a UK university. Applicants will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge at the usual rate of £624 per year and the visa pplication cost will be £700. This route will not have recourse to public funds.
Students who have taken an opportunity to become a Student Union Sabbatical Officer, will be able to apply for the Graduate route once their Sabbatical period ends. This is qualified in Paragraph 5.4 of the Statement of Changes:
5.4 The qualification must have been gained during the last grant of permission to study as a Student, or in the period of permission immediately before the applicant’s last grant of permission, if the last grant of permission was to undertake a role as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.
Table 10: Graduate route conditions and requirements
|Requirements||Conditions & Restrictions|
|Application fee||Yes||Switching routes (in country)||Yes|
|Immigration Skills Charge||No||Route to settlement||No|
|Immigration Health Charge||Yes||Dependants*||See below*|
|Biometrics||Yes||Access to Public Funds||No|
|* Graduates whose dependants are already with them in the UK will be allowed to continue sponsoring family members who make an application for further leave at the same time.|
What do we know about timings and format of applications
We know that the application will be made online and has been promised to be quick and easy. The UKVI have intended that you should be able to verify your identify and make the application using an app downloaded to your phone. You should not need to submit any documents but you will need a CAS number to include in your application.
You will not be able to make a Graduate Route application until formal results have been released and verified to the Home Office. This process will happen automatically at the earliest point possible according to UKVI Sponsor requirements. Once this process has taken place, all students who are eligible to apply for Graduate Route will be sent an email notifying them that they are now eligible to apply for the Graduate Route. This email will also including the individual CAS number they will need to include in their application.
IMPORTANT: Students will not need to request this email/CAS number or tell the University they wish to apply for the Graduate Route. All eligible students will be sent the information and then it is a personal choice whether you wish to apply or not. You cannot make the process go any quicker and you should expect to receive the Graduate Route application confirmation email within 2 weeks of your results being released. All students within an examination/results cohort will receive the information at the same time via a bulk communication. You do not have to make your Graduate Route application straightaway but you will have to make the application before your student visa expires.
More information regarding institutional process will be updated here as we receive it
This is the most up to date information that we are able to provide at this point and we will add subsequent details, as they are released. This will include details of the application process and how you can access International@Campuslife support. Please bear in mind that sometimes the UKVI do not release Guidance around the route and application until the route actually opens. We will update this resource as soon as we are able so please be confident that the detail that we have is already available to you here. We apprecaite your understanding.