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Home / News / India /  UK opens new post-study work visa route for Indian students: How to apply, other details

The United Kingdom Home Office today formally opened its new post-study work visa for international students, which would offer overseas graduates from India and other destinations the option to apply for the right to stay on for job experience at the end of their university courses.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel had last year announced the Graduate route visa, which is now open for applications from this week and is expected to particularly benefit Indian students.

Students from India are specifically known to choose their degree courses based on the prospect of work experience.

In a statement, Patel said: "Under the UK Government's points-based immigration system, talented students from India and across the globe now have the opportunity to kick start their careers in the UK at the highest levels of business, science, technology and the arts."

Patel also said that in 2020, over 56,000 Indian nationals were granted a student visa by the UK.

"Once they've received their world-leading qualification from one of our fantastic education institutions, this new visa will give them the freedom to fulfil their aspirations and advance their careers," the UK Home Secretary added.

For applicants

Applicants who began their studies in autumn last year or in spring this year will need to be in the UK on a student visa by 27 September, 2021. Students beginning their course later this year or early next year will need to be in the UK by 6 April, 2022.

To apply under the new Graduate route, international students must have completed an eligible course at a recognised UK higher education provider at an undergraduate or higher level.

Students on the route will be able to work or look for work after their studies for a maximum period of two years, or three years for Doctoral PhD students.

It is unsponsored, meaning applicants do not need a job offer to apply and crucially they can use a two-year period to stay on and look for a job. There are no minimum salary requirements or caps on numbers, allowing graduates on the route to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required.

A Covid-19 concession on the date by which students must enter the UK to qualify for the route, if they started courses in 2020 and are unable to travel due to the ongoing pandemic, was recently extended.

What is the Graduate route?

The Graduate route is designed for international graduates who have been awarded their degree from a recognised UK university to stay on and look for work for at least two years.

This is also an important step in the UK-India 2030 Roadmap, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Britain PM Johnson in May 2021, which will deepen the institutional relationships between the UK and India, including between Governments, the private sector, higher education and civil society.

For the first time, the vast majority of applicants to the Graduate route will be able to apply in a fully digital way, using the UK Immigration: ID Check smartphone app.

Successful applicants will be issued with an eVisa, and be able to conveniently access this status whenever needed to prove their rights in the UK. This is a more convenient application process which means applicants will not have to visit a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service or re-submit their biometrics. Customers who cannot use the app can still apply online but will need to visit a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service.

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