The United Kingdom Home Office on July 1 has announced that it has formally opened its new post-study work visa for international students. This would allow overseas graduates from various destinations, including India, to apply for the right to stay on for job experience at the end of their university courses.
The Graduate route visa, which was announced last year by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, is now open for applications. It is expected to benefit Indian students particularly. Students in India often tend to choose their degree courses based on the prospect of work experience.
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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.”
The UK granted a student visa to more than 56,000 Indian nationals in 2020, Patel further said.
“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 said.
Applicants who started their studies in autumn last year or in spring this year must be in the UK by September 27, 2021, on a student visa. On the other hand, students who will start their course later this year or earlier next year must be in the UK by April 6, 2022.
International students who wish to apply under the new Graduate route are required to complete an eligible course at a recognised UK higher education provider at an undergraduate or higher level.
Students who are on the route will be able to work or look for work after studying for a maximum of two years. For Doctoral PhD students, the tenure is three years.
Applicants do not need a job offer to be able to apply. Graduates on the route can work flexibly or switch jobs when they wish to, as there are no minimum salary requirements or caps on numbers.
The date by which applicants are required to enter the UK to qualify for the route -provided their courses had begun in 2020, and they are unable to travel due to the pandemic- has been extended as a Covid concession.
The Graduate route is meant for international graduates awarded their degree from a recognised UK university. The route would allow them to stay on and look for work for two years, at least.
This is an important step in the UK-India 2030 Roadmap launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Britain PM Johnson in May 2021 to ensure that institutional relationships between the UK and India deepen, including between Governments, the private sector, higher education and civil society.
Students will be able to apply using the UK Immigration: ID Check smartphone app. Candidates who cannot access the app can still apply online. However, they will need to visit a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service.
Those who will successfully apply through the app will be issued with an eVisa, allowing them to access this status whenever required to prove their rights in the UK.