10 incredible facts about the UK graduate visa

Immigration skills charge

Have you noticed that UK employers and international students are attracted to the graduate visa? Do you know why? It’s because the graduate visa can prove so flexible. For UK business owners, it offers an additional work visa route without all the red tape and for international students it offers the best visa flexibility, provided you stick out your course and graduate.

At AK Immigration Advisory Service, here are the top 10 facts about the UK graduate visa, you should know:

  1. It’s flexible: truth is, if you are an international student in the UK on a student visa you are likely to meet the eligibility criteria for a graduate visa. This is because applicants are not restricted to those doing degrees in key STEM subjects. Applications are welcomed from all disciplines, so it doesn’t matter if your degree is in the history of art or media studies – you are free to apply for the graduate visa.
  2. No good degree needed: You don’t need a 2.1 degree to qualify for a graduate visa. You only need to have completed your course. There is no requirement that you must have graduated. Finishing your course alone is good enough.
  3. You don’t need a job. It is hard to get a good job when you are straight out of university. Many international students who want to stay in the UK feel under immense pressure to get a job with a sponsoring employer so they can stay in the UK on the skilled worker visa. The beauty of the graduate visa is that you can apply for the visa without having a job to go to.
  4. No need for a sponsoring employer: With the graduate visa you can take any job. That means you don’t need a sponsoring employer and you are not going to be forced into taking a job that you don’t really want just so you can get a skilled worker visa.
  5. You don’t need to meet a minimum salary threshold: Some graduates and international students say it can be hard to get a job in the UK with a sponsoring employer in their preferred career because of the skilled worker visa minimum salary threshold. With the graduate visa there is no minimum salary threshold so provided the UK employer pays you more than the national minimum wage you can do a job that interests you to allow you to get more experience. You can then switch to a skilled worker visa when you have the experience to justify the minimum salary threshold for the skilled worker visa in your chosen career.
  6. You don’t need to intend to apply for a skilled job:  The graduate visa immigration rules don’t say you have to plan to secure a graduate level job offer when you are applying for the graduate visa and the immigration rules don’t specify that your job search has to be related to your degree.
  7. No need to go home after you graduate and then apply for a graduate visa. Many international students don’t want to go home after they have completed their studies as it is hard to move from international student to living back at home. One of the best things about the graduate visa for some students is that you have to apply for the visa from the UK whilst you are still in the UK on a student visa.
  8. Post graduate students can apply for the graduate visa: The graduate visa is not restricted to graduates from universities. You may also be eligible to apply for a graduate visa if you have studied in the UK on a post-graduation course, such as a law conversion or post law degree course. If you are wondering if your course qualifies you to apply for the graduate visa the best thing to do is call one of our friendly immigration advisors for more information.
  9. You can stay in the UK for a minimum of two years on a graduate visa: A graduate visa is for two or three years depending on the nature of your qualification. If you decide, the graduate visa is not for you then you can go home earlier or you can apply to switch visa.  
  10. You visa switch options: As the graduate visa does not lead to settlement in the UK, you may want to look at visa switch options. With a degree and after some work experience whilst you are on the graduate visa, you may find it best to switch to the skilled worker visa as this work visa routes does lead to UK settlement. Once you meet the five-year residence requirement, you will then be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK and, if you chose to do so, you can go onto apply for British citizenship.

Are you excited already? We bet. Our UK immigration advisors truly understand that post-graduation can be hard to know what you want and where you want to be. That’s why approachable immigration experts are happy to chat with you to help you work out whether the graduate visa is the best visa route for you or not. Please contact info@akias.co.uk for further information

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