The Graduate Route is an unsponsored, post-study work visa.
This is a 2-year visa and you cannot extend it.
If you are successful you will receive a 2-year visa if you have completed a Bachelors or Masters degree, or a 3-year visa if you have completed a PhD.
This scheme doesn’t lead to settlement.
To be eligible for this visa:
you must be in the UK
your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
you studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible courses for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
your education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office you’ve successfully completed your course. Note that you do not have to have graduated to apply.
The education provider for your course must be a licensed sponsor with a ‘track record of compliance’.
You must apply before your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa expires.
You can include your family members that were dependants on your Tier 4 (General) or Student visa on your application. If they were not your dependant on your Tier 4 (General) or Student visa, you cannot add them on your Graduate Scheme visa application.
Note that not all degrees obtained in the UK are eligible for the Graduate Scheme Visa. For more information on the Graduate Scheme visa, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
You must assign a certificate of sponsorship to each foreign worker you employ. This is an electronic record, not a physical document. Each certificate has its own number which a worker can use to apply for a visa.
When you assign the certificate to a worker, they must use it to apply for their visa within 3 months. They must not apply for their visa more than 3 months before the start date of the job listed on the certificate.
The applicant is applying for entry clearance and is being sponsored for a job in any of the occupation codes listed below, they must provide a criminal record certificate from the relevant authority in any country in which they have been present for 12 months or more (whether continuously or in total) in the 10 years before the date of application, and while aged 18 or over:
Validity of certificates A certificate will normally be considered valid in the following circumstances:
for the applicant’s latest country of residence, where it is issued no earlier than 6 months before the date of application
for other countries where the applicant was present, where it is issued within the last 6 months before their last period of stay ended (this can be any date)
The requirement for Skilled Worker entry clearance applicants to produce a criminal record certificate is determined by the standard occupational classification (SOC) code attributed to their employment role in the UK. Those with roles in the following SOC codes are subject to the requirement:
1181 Health services and public health managers and directors
1184 Social services managers and directors
1241 Health care practice managers
1242 Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors
2211 Medical practitioners
2214 Ophthalmic opticians
2215 Dental practitioners
2217 Medical radiographers
2219 Health professionals not elsewhere classified
2222 Occupational therapists
2223 Speech and language therapists
2229 Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified
2312 Further education teaching professionals
2314 Secondary education teaching professionals
2315 Primary and nursery education teaching professionals
2316 Special needs education teaching professionals
2317 Senior professionals of educational establishments
2318 Education advisers and school inspectors
2319 Teaching and other educational professionals not elsewhere classified
2442 Social workers
2443 Probation officers
2449 Welfare professionals not elsewhere classified
3216 Dispensing opticians
3217 Pharmaceutical technicians
3218 Medical and dental technicians
3219 Health associate professionals not elsewhere classified
3231 Youth and community workers
3234 Housing officers
3239 Welfare and housing associate professionals not elsewhere classified
3443 Fitness instructors
3562 Human resources and industrial relations officers
6121 Nursery nurses and assistants
6122 Childminders and related occupations
6125 Teaching assistants
6126 Educational support assistants
6141 Nursing auxiliaries and assistants
6143 Dental nurses
6144 Houseparents and residential wardens
6145 Care workers and home carers
6146 Senior care workers
Availability of criminal record certificates
The majority of countries have procedures for the issuing of criminal record certificates to their own citizens and to third country nationals living there.
You might have to pay an additional charge when you assign a certificate of sponsorship to someone applying for a Skilled Worker or Senior or Specialist Worker visa. This is called the ‘immigration skills charge’.
You must pay the immigration skills charge if they’re applying for a visa from:
outside the UK to work in the UK for 6 months or more
inside the UK for any length of time
When you do not need to pay
You will not have to pay the charge if you’re sponsoring someone with one of the following occupation codes:
chemical scientists (2111)
biological scientists and biochemists (2112)
physical scientists (2113)
social and humanities scientists (2114)
natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified (2119)
research and development managers (2150)
higher education teaching professionals (2311)
sports players (3441)
sports coaches, instructors or officials (3442)
You also might not have to pay the charge if you’re sponsoring a worker who was assigned a certificate before 6 April 2017. You will not need to pay the charge for any of the worker’s dependents, for example their partner or child.
You will not have to pay the charge if a student in the UK switch to either a Skilled Worker or Senior or Specialist Worker visa and then extend their stay on the new visa.
How to pay
You pay the immigration skills charge when you assign a certificate of sponsorship to the worker.
How much it costs
The amount you need to pay is based on:
the size of your organization
how long the worker will work for you, using the start and end dates on their sponsorship certificate
Small or charitable sponsors
Medium or large sponsors
First 12 months
Each additional 6 months
How to tell if you’re a small or charitable sponsor
You’re usually a small sponsor if at least 2 of the following apply:
an ecclesiastical corporation established for charitable purposes
How much to pay based on how long the worker will work for you
If the worker will be in the UK for longer than 6 months but less than a year, you must pay for at least 12 months.
You must pay the full charge in one go.
The longest you can sponsor a worker for is 5 years, so the most you’ll have to pay is:
£1,820 (5 x £364) if you’re a small or charitable sponsor
£5,000 (5 x £1,000) if you’re a medium or large sponsor
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will contact you if you do not pay the charge or pay the wrong amount. You’ll have 10 working days to pay the charge – the worker’s visa application will be refused if you do not.
You’ll get a full refund if the worker’s visa application is:
refused or withdrawn
successful, but they do not come to work for you
You’ll get a partial refund if the worker:
gets less time on their visa than you sponsored them for
starts working for you but then changes to another sponsor
leaves their job before the end date on their certificate of sponsorship
You’ll also get a partial refund if you paid the medium or large sponsor fee when assigning the certificate, but had already notified UKVI that you’re now a small or charitable sponsor.
How long it takes
You usually get a refund within 90 days of:
telling UKVI that the worker did not come to work for you
the expiration date on the worker’s certificate of sponsorship, if they did not use it to apply for a visa
the date the worker’s visa application is refused or withdrawn
the date you assigned the certificate of sponsorship, if you had already notified UKVI that you became a small or charitable sponsor
If the worker’s visa application is refused, they can ask for the decision to be reviewed. This is known as an‘administrative review’.
If they do not ask for an administrative review, you’ll get a refund within 90 days of the deadline for applying for one.
You’ll get a refund within 90 days of the administrative review being dismissed if the worker applied for one and were unsuccessful.