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What is the Graduate Immigration Route?

From 1 July 2021, a new immigration route will be available for students in the UK, namely the Graduate Immigration Route.


Before the introduction of this route, students who were in the UK under a student visa relied on their student status and on the length of their studies to lawfully reside in the UK. This new route will allow students to apply for a graduate visa and reside in the UK for 2, or 3 years if a PhD student, searching for work.

This new route will be open for applications on 1 July 2021 to international students who successfully complete eligible courses or studies in the UK. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can expect some flexibility for students unable to travel to the UK due to the pandemic and travel restrictions and have been assisting on remote learning to their studies.


Students who began their studies in Autumn 2020 will have until 21 June 2021 to enter the UK 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 27 September 2021.  This 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 as well. Graduates on the route will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required. 

At this moment, there are not many more details about the requirements, so until the immigration rules and guidance for the graduate route are published, the information below is subject to change. We expect that the eligibility requirements of this route would be:

  • The successful competition of a UK degree, or other eligible course;

  • The course was provided by a Higher Education Provider which is a student sponsor with a track record of compliance;

  • You have spent a minimum period of time studying in the UK;

  • You are applying from within the UK and have valid leave as a Student or Tier 4 Student at the date of application;

  • You have not previously held permission or leave on the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES), or previously on the Graduate route;

  • You do not fall for refusal on grounds of suitability.


If you have recently finished your studies in the UK and want to stay 2 or 3 more years working of searching for a job, you could be eligible for the Graduate Route. Our dedicated team can help you by ensuring that all documents and supportive evidence are correctly organised. Get in touch today for a free consultation to discuss your case requirements.