1 July 2021 saw the introduction of the new Graduate route to the UK Immigration Rules. This route enables UK graduates and their family members to remain in the UK for a period of 2 years following the successful completion of a course of study in the UK, or 3 years following a PhD.
Applicants under the scheme will be approved where they have last been sponsored as a student by a higher education provider with a track record of Home Office compliance. The course of study which the applicant relies upon must have been undertaken in the most recent grant of leave to remain and the higher education provider must confirm to the Home Office that the course has been completed successfully.
Qualifications enabling entry to the scheme include a course of study at UK bachelor’s degree level or higher and can also include professional or vocational courses such as the Legal Practice Course, Postgraduate Certificate in Education and Bar Practice Course.
This route enables foreign students in the UK to seek work without requiring an employer sponsor. It also enables employers to access new talent without undertaking the compliance risk and costs associated with sponsorship under the Skilled Worker scheme.
Whilst time spent in the UK under the scheme does not count towards indefinite leave to remain (ILR) through a 5-year route, it can count towards ILR following 10 years continuous leave in the UK, providing more settlement options for applicants following long periods of study in the UK.