Are The UK Getting Rid of Graduate Visas

What is a Graduate Visa?

Introduced in 2021, the graduate visa was implemented as a strategy to allow students who have passed their course the opportunity to remain in the UK for two further years to seek employment or continue their studies.

Since its introduction, the scheme has been favourable to foreign students looking to stay in the UK, however, there have been concerns from the UK government that the scheme was being ‘abused’. As a result, there have been concerns that the graduate visa scheme will be scrapped. 

At present, the UK graduate visa remains active, but in the near future could face reviews. Foreign students are still permitted to apply provided that they are eligible to do so. Applications for the graduate scheme are assessed on an individual basis, with the current acceptance rate being 98 percent.

If you are a student looking to remain in the UK, you may need to apply for a graduate visa. Synergy Immigration Solutions can help you apply for your graduate visa and increase the chances of acceptance with a good application. For more information, reach out to our team today.

Graduate Visa Eligibility

To obtain a graduate visa and legally remain in the United Kingdom for two years after you have graduated from university, you must meet the eligibility criteria:

  • Hold a valid student visa
  • Have passed the course you are studying in the UK- confirmed to the Home Office by your education provider
  • Be present in the United Kingdom
  • Studied at an institution with a sponsor licence
  • Studied the full length of your course, or studied for 12 months consecutively

As well as meeting the eligibility criteria, you must be studying one of the eligible courses to qualify for a graduate visa in the United Kingdom. You must study one of the following:

  • A bachelors degree
  • A masters degree
  • PhD level course
  • Doctorate
  • Law studies or a conversion course
  • Foundation-level medicine or dentistry
  • The Bar Practice Course
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

If you are worried about whether your course qualifies you for a graduate visa or not, reach out to us today for some guidance.

What Documents Do You Need to Apply for a Graduate Visa?

As part of the application process for a graduate visa, you must submit supporting documents to verify your identity and current immigration status. Failure to do so can result in your graduate visa application being rejected. The documents you may be required to submit are:

  • A valid passport or travel document- this will be used to verify your identity
  • A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)- showing your student visa
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
  • If you have already passed your course, you may need confirmation of this also

For help getting the correct documentation together for your graduate visa application, speak to an advisor at Syngery Immigration Solutions.

What are the Benefits of a Graduate Visa?

For international students who have studied an eligible course in the United Kingdom, there are many benefits to obtaining a graduate visa if you are eligible to do so.

Gain Valuable Work Experience

Once you have graduated from your course, you will be permitted to use your graduate visa to remain in the UK for two years. In these two years, you can seek employment to enhance your career prospects further.

Pathway to Remain in the UK

By remaining in the United Kingdom to work and contribute to the economy, you are creating a stepping stone to access a long-term visa or even citizenship, if you choose the UK as your chosen abode.

Improved Language Skills

The longer you stay in a country that is not your home country, the more familiar you become with the mother tongue. For example, English is considered the language of business, therefore, having English speaking ability allows you to increase your work and business opportunities.

Extended Stay in the United Kingdom

The graduate visa allows a further two-year stay in the United Kingdom. These two years offer the ideal opportunity for professional development- either through further study or work.

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What Can You Do on a Graduate Visa?

If you have obtained a graduate visa you will be permitted to look for work and work most types of jobs within the United Kingdom. In addition, graduate visa holders can work for themselves on a self-employed basis.

Either alongside a paid job or not, graduate visa holders are permitted to carry out voluntary work inside the United Kingdom, as well as travel in and out of the country.

If the graduate visa holder has family and children in the UK with them, they will be able to remain in the UK as long as they are eligible to do so.

It is important to note that graduate visa holders are not eligible for publicly funded benefits or a state pension. If you breach any terms of your graduate visa you may be at risk of losing it altogether.

My Graduate Visa Application Was Rejected

On some occasions, graduate visa applications can be rejected after being reviewed by the Home Office. Some of the common reasons for rejection may include:

  • Failure of your eligible course
  • You weren’t in the UK at the time of your application
  • You did not submit the required supporting documents
  • The Home Office were unable to confirm your identity
  • You fail to communicate with the Home Office when required to do so
  • Your student visa has expired and you failed to extend it accordingly

No matter the reason for the application rejection, it can be highly disappointing and stressful. It is important to be aware that there are steps you can take. Firstly, you should seek the reason your application was rejected. In some cases, you may be able to appeal your application for an administrative review. If you aren’t able to, you will need to seek alternative permission to remain in the United Kingdom.

In order to avoid rejection from the beginning, you should pay great attention to your application or even seek assistance in submitting one. It is important to note that rejected applications will remain on your immigration record, so, it’s best to avoid a rejection altogether as this could impact your ability to get approved for visas in the future.

Can a Graduate Visa Be Extended?

You are unable to extend a graduate visa once it expires. If you wish to remain in the United Kingdom to work, you may be able to apply for a work visa. For example, a skilled worker visa, health and care worker visa, or a start-up visa, depending on your personal requirements and eligibility.

If you proceed to apply for a skilled worker visa, you will be permitted to work and live in the United Kingdom for up to five years. After five years, you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

You should be aware that in order to successfully apply for a work visa, including the skilled worker visa, the employer you wish to work for must be able to offer you suitable sponsorship. To do so, they must be able to provide you with a certificate of sponsorship to support your application. To issue these documents, they will need to have a valid UK sponsor licence.

Can a Graduate Visa Be Extended?

In Summary

The graduate visa scheme has attracted significant since its introduction in 2021, with concerns from the UK government. The UK graduate visa is still open to applications from international student visa holders but further reviews may take place to consider its suitability as an option for immigration in the United Kingdom.

Synergy Immigration Solutions

After years of training, our highly professional immigration team are able to offer first-class immigration advice. We take pride in our services and are confident in the quality of the service we offer.

Applying for a graduate visa can seem like an overwhelming task and it can often be complex. Our team has experience in handling and processing graduate visa applications. From the initial application to the appeals process, we have sound understanding of the processes involved in a successful application.

If you require guidance with your graduate visa application, or you would like assistance with another matter, Synergy Immigration Solutions is on hand to help. Contact us today to speak to one of our friendly advisors.