People stop to look at a statue of British businessman Cecil Rhodes on the facade of Oriel College in Oxford. Image Credit: Getty

Dubai: United Kingdom’s graduate immigration route will open on July 1 to allow “the best and brightest international students to stay and work in UK after completing their studies”, the British Embassy in the UAE has tweeted.

According to UK Home Office, “International students must have completed an eligible course at a UK higher education provider, with a track record of compliance with the government’s immigration requirements to apply for the graduate route.”

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 for doctoral students. Kevin Foster, UK Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, noted: “As we rebuild from the global pandemic we want the world’s brightest talent, who aspire to a career at the highest levels of business, science, the arts and technology to see UK as the natural place to fulfil their aspirations.

“Once they have received a gold standard qualification from one of our world-leading education institutions, they can easily secure the status they need to continue living, working and fulfilling their dreams in the UK,” he added.

600,000 international students by 2030

The graduate route will be unsponsored, meaning applicants will not need a job offer to apply for the route. There will neither be any minimum salary requirement nor caps on numbers. Graduates on the route will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required.  

The new route will help the government to achieve the ambition set out in the International Education Strategy to increase the number of international students in higher education in the UK to 600,000 by 2030.

“The launch of the new Graduate route shows that the government is continuing to deliver on its key manifesto promise to implement a points-based immigration system, which will attract talent and ensure that businesses can recruit the most highly qualified from across the globe to drive the economy forwards,” said the UK government.

Concessions due to coronavirus

The deadline for students who were unable to travel to the UK due to the pandemic have also been extended, recognising the continuing disruption many face due to international travel restrictions.

Applicants who began their studies in Autumn 2020 will now have until June 21 this year to enter the UK (updated from 6 April 2021) in order to be eligible for the graduate route. Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by September 27, 2021. 

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One more immigration route

The graduate route comes as the UK government also unveiled plans to launch another new immigration route that will help start-ups and fast-growing firms recruit the talent they need. As part of the route, highly-skilled migrants with a job offer from a recognised high-growth firm will qualify for a visa without the need for sponsorship or third-party endorsement.