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Post-Graduation UK Visa Options for overseas Students

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Post-Graduation UK Visa Options for overseas Students

You could be thinking about ways to lengthen your stay in the country as an international student who will graduate in the UK. There are many visa options available to you, whether your goal is to create a startup, advance your profession, or both. This page offers a thorough overview of the many UK visa alternatives accessible to graduates from other countries.

Understanding Your Rights as a Student Visa Holder


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Understanding your rights as a holder of a student visa is crucial before exploring your possibilities for post-study visas. You are normally allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time outside of the academic year if you are enrolled in a full-time degree programme. Employers may recruit you on a temporary contract if you have finished your studies and your student visa is still valid. On the other hand, a student visa does not allow for employment under a permanent contract.

The Graduate Visa Route

International students who have successfully finished their programme in the UK frequently choose the Graduate Visa. After receiving your degree, you can use this immigration path to live and work in the UK for up to three years (depending on your circumstances).

Key Features of the Graduate Visa

Here is a quick rundown of the Graduate Visa’s main features:

  1. Unsponsored Route: The Graduate Visa is an unsponsored route, meaning you don’t require to be sponsored from an employer with a sponsor licence. This aspect makes the application process more straightforward and flexible.
  2. No Minimum Salary: Unlike some other visa categories, the Graduate Visa doesn’t stipulate a minimum salary requirement. As long as you’re earning at least the national minimum wage, you’re eligible to work under this visa.
  3. Work Freedom: With the Graduate Visa, you’re free to work in most jobs, including self-employment or voluntary work. You’re also free to switch jobs as the visa isn’t tied to any specific employer.
  4. Limited Duration: The Graduate Visa is capped at a maximum of two years for most graduates, extending up to three years for PhD graduates. Please note, this visa cannot be extended beyond this period.
  5. Switching Options: Although the Graduate Visa doesn’t lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or permanent residence in the UK, you can switch to an alternative visa type, such as a Skilled Worker visa.

The Skilled Worker Visa Route

If you’re aiming for a longer stay in the UK or looking for a route to permanent residence, the Skilled Worker Visa with an employer with a sponsor licence is worth considering. This visa route is directly tied to your employment and requires your employer to hold a sponsor licence.

Key Features of the Skilled Worker Visa

Here are the main features of the Skilled Worker Visa:

  1. Sponsor Licence Requirement: To apply for a Skilled Worker Visa, you need a Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed employer.
  2. Minimum Salary Threshold: The Skilled Worker Visa has a minimum salary requirement of £26,200 per year or the going rate for the specific role, whichever is higher. This requirement can be lower in certain circumstances, such as if you’re applying as a ‘new entrant.’
  3. English Language Requirement: The Skilled Worker Visa has an English language requirement. However, as a graduate from a UK institution, you’ve likely already met this requirement.
  4. Duration and Renewability: The Skilled Worker Visa can be granted for up to five years in the first instance and can be extended indefinitely. This visa route leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) towards the end of five years, making it a viable option for permanent residency.

Exploring Other Visa Options

The other visa options are likely to not be feasible or may not be good options. As well as the Graduate and Skilled Worker visas, other visa routes include:

  1. Innovator Founder Visa: This visa is designed for foreign nationals looking to establish and run their own business in the UK.
  2. Global Talent Visa: Aimed at individuals who are considered to be near the top in their specific fields or likely to be at the top. The Global Talent visa does not require employment or sponsorship.
  3. Scale Up Visa: This visa is ideal for high-growth employers looking to recruit international talent. It initially requires sponsorship for the first six months of employment, but the employee can change employers or roles without the need for sponsorship afterwards.
  4. Global Business Mobility Visas: These visas are designed for specific types of workers coming to the UK to undertake specific, short-term work.
  5. Temporary Work Visas: These visas provide short-term permission to carry out certain types of work in the UK.
  6. Youth Mobility Scheme: If you’re between 18 and 30 and are a national of a participating country, you can apply under the Youth Mobility Scheme to come to the UK for up to two years.
  7. High Potential Individual Visa: This visa is for graduates from non-UK institutions to come to the UK for up to two years, or three years with a PhD equivalent.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing the right visa option depends on your personal circumstances and long-term goals in the UK. While the Graduate Visa is a flexible and cost-effective option, it doesn’t lead to permanent residence. Many people on a Graduate visa will switch to a Skilled Worker Visa that requires employer sponsorship and has additional compliance obligations; it offers a pathway to permanent residence. In practice, the other visa options are unlikely to be feasible or, depending on the visa, beneficial for most people.

The Benefits of Hiring Graduates

Hiring recent graduates can provide numerous benefits for employers. Graduates often bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas, making them valuable assets for businesses facing challenges and skills gaps. They’re also typically keen learners, tech-savvy, and adaptable, helping companies thrive and evolve.

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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