In an attempt to further bolster the economy, and possibly make up for the predicted reduction in the number of EU students choosing to study in the UK post-Brexit, the government has put in place a new points-based system, named the Student route which is to replace the current Tier 4 general route for applying for a student visa for the UK, and a new graduate route as well.
The major changes brought to the new Graduate route, which will be open for applications from July 1, 2021, will make life much easier for international students. The new route allows students who have completed their education with a Higher Education Institute in the UK, to remain in the UK for 2 more years, and work at whatever skill level that they might deem appropriate. The graduate route grants PhD graduates a leave to remain for 3 years.
Upon the exhaustion of the leave to remain period, students will be able to seamlessly apply for a work visa through the new work routes and continue to work in suitable jobs. These routes will potentially allow students to have an uninterrupted stay in the UK, which greatly saves on costs.
Minister for future borders and immigration, Kevin Foster, gave his thoughts-“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.”
In a statement, the government also dispelled some doubts regarding the eligibility for the scheme – “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 career as required.”
The government also welcomed the inputs of the UK Council for International Affairs (UKCISA) while formulating how the graduate route will work. By taking into account the suggestions made by UKCISA, the government also decided to extend the cut-off date for eligibility from April 6 to June 21. This implies that students will now have to be on UK soil by the 21st of June to avail of this scheme.