What is the new visa that has been announced?
The government has announced that the new Graduate visa route is now open. This route will allow those migrants in the UK with a Student visa to remain in the UK for 2 years (3 years for those who studied at PhD level) following the award of their degree.
What will be the main aspects of this visa?
This will be a flexible route with similarities to the popular Youth Mobility visa scheme and will allow Graduate visa holders to work in the UK without requiring sponsorship by an employer - and they will not require any job offer to obtain the visa following the end of their course of study.
Some key aspects of this visa:
- No job offer required
- No sponsorship required
- May work in any job at any skill level
- No minimum salary requirements
- May change jobs as they wish
- Can be self-employed
How much will it cost?
Individuals wishing to apply for this visa must be in the UK to make the application and will need to pay the application fee of £700 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the standard rate of £624 per year.
How long can people stay with this visa?
The Graduate visa cannot be extended beyond the 2 years (or, as above, 3 years for PhD holders), but it will be possible to instead switch to a different visa type - such as the Skilled Worker visa.
How is it different from what was available before?
This is a new visa, previously it was not available at all and students either had to leave the UK at the end of their course or apply under a different visa type, for example finding a Sponsor who will support them with a Skilled Worker visa.
This new visa route should be positive news for employers, who may find it easier to recruit recently graduated students, without the concerns of sponsorship, minimum salaries, etc.
Of course, those companies who wish to retain these individuals beyond their two-year period will need to ensure that they hold a Sponsor Licence with the Skilled Worker category to be able to support a switching application.
For advice on visa options, or on obtaining a Skilled Worker category Sponsor Licence and the ongoing compliance requirements associated with it, please contact a member of our team.