New UK post-study graduate route to open for Indian students in July
- The UK has also extended concessions for students unable to travel to the UK after getting admission to British educational institutions because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was done due to the continuing disruption in international travel.
The UK said on Thursday that applications will open on July 1 for the so-called “graduate route” that will allow international students who complete an undergraduate degree or above in Britain to work for at least two years.
Britain had witnessed a decline in the number of students from countries such as India after it scrapped an earlier provision that allowed international candidates to work in the country after completing their studies. The UK government announced the new visa route last year.
The UK said international students on the graduate route will be able to work or look for work after their studies for a maximum period of two years, or three years in the case of PhD students.
“This will help allow the brightest and the best students from India to continue to contribute to the UK post-study,” the British high commission said in a statement.
The graduate route will be unsponsored, meaning applicants won’t need a job offer to apply for it. There will be no minimum salary requirements or caps on numbers – graduates will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as they choose.
Indian students are one of the largest international groups studying in Britain and make a “huge contribution to UK public life”, the statement said. According to the latest statistics, the number of student visas issued to Indians increased by 42%, compared to the previous year, and now number more than 53,000. This represents 23% of all British student visas issued, up from 13% in the previous year.
The UK higher education sector had pressured the government to resume the practice of allowing international students to work after their studies as more and more students from countries such as India began moving away from Britain to other European countries such as Germany and France.
The UK has also extended concessions for students unable to travel to the UK after getting admission to British educational institutions because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was done due to the continuing disruption in international travel.
Students who started their studies in autumn 2020 will now need to be in the UK by June 21 to be eligible to apply for the graduate route, while those starting their courses in January or February this year will now be required to be in the UK by September 27.
UK’s immigration minister Kevin Foster said: “The launch of this new route will ensure those who graduate from our world leading institutions will easily be able to secure the status they deserve to continue living and working as they make our United Kingdom their home.”
British high commissioner Alex Ellis added, “The flow of students between India and the UK makes the human connection between our countries – the ‘living bridge’ – ever stronger. I’m delighted that increasing numbers of talented Indian students are choosing the UK to study, and even more so that the graduate route will allow them to work in the UK after their studies.”
The UK is committed to supporting thousands of Indian students to pursue their education in the UK and post-study employment opportunities, said Barbara Wickham, director in India for British Council. “Given the pandemic travel restrictions, these new timelines to reach the UK will help ensure international students are able to benefit from the graduate route and gain coveted international work experience,” she said.
The new graduate route will help the UK government achieve its target in the International Education Strategy to increase the number of international students in higher education to 600,000 by 2030.