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The British Government has announced that the new Graduate route will open for applications on July 1, 2021, allowing the UK to retain the brightest and best international students to continue to contribute to society and the economy post-study.

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

This disclosure is contained in a public statement issued by the UK Government and seen on its website.

The government, in its statement, said that international students must have completed an eligible course at a UK higher education provider, with a track record of compliance with the government’s immigration requirements to apply to the Graduate route.

It states that students on the Graduate route will be able to work or look for work after their studies for a maximum period of 2 years, or 3 years for Doctoral students.

The UK Government stated, “The launch of the new Graduate route shows that the government is continuing to deliver on its key manifesto promise to implement a points-based immigration system, which will attract talent and ensure that businesses can recruit the most highly qualified from across the globe to drive the economy forwards.


“The Graduate route will work for all corners of the UK, ensuring that communities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can benefit from talented individuals who want to stay after their studies.’

What the UK Minister for Future Borders and Immigration is saying


Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster, said, “As we rebuild from the global pandemic we want the world’s brightest talent, who aspire to a career at the highest levels of business, science, the arts and technology to see our United Kingdom as the natural place to fulfil their aspirations.

“The changes announced today will ensure once they have received a gold standard qualification from one of our world leading education institutions they can easily secure the status they need to continue living, working and fulfilling their dreams 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 careers as required.

The new route will help the government to achieve the ambition set out in the International Education Strategy to increase the number of international students in higher education in the UK to 600,000 by 2030, just as coronavirus concessions for students unable to travel to the UK due to the pandemic have also been extended, due to disruption caused by international travel restrictions.

Eligibility to apply if you can’t get to the UK due to coronavirus

Applicants who began their studies in Autumn 2020 will now have until June 21, 2021 to enter the UK (updated from April 6, 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 September 27, 2021.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that in September last year, the UK Government in its travel advice, offered some flexibility into their rules for international students applying for study visas due to ongoing global restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Visa and Immigration office said that students who could not travel to the UK due to restrictions could start their studies remotely without applying for a Tier-4 student visa. It advised the international students to only apply for their visas when they were confident they could travel.
  • It also announced the commencement of its point-based immigration system to attract skilled workers from across the world.
  • The Graduate route comes as the government has also unveiled plans to launch another new immigration route that will help start-ups and fast-growing firms recruit the talent they need to innovate and grow,  at yesterday’s Budget as part of a range of measures for highly skilled migrants.



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