What is the Graduate Route Visa? How Will it Help Your Career?
The new Graduate Route visa is life changing for international students studying in the UK. Starting summer next year, grads from all over the world will be able to stay and work in the country for two years after they finish their degree.
The new system is simple: international students need a General Student visa to study, then a Graduate Route visa to search for a job, and finally a General Work visa to live and earn in the UK. Here are the facts:
- This route is only open to students due to graduate summer 2021 onwards.
- Right now 2020 graduates are only able to stay in the UK post-study if they secure a Tier 2 General Work visa within 4 months of graduating.
- The Graduate Route gives students an extra year and a half to search for the employment they need to secure the longer-term Tier 2 visa.
- You have to apply for the Graduate Route visa before your Tier 4 visa runs out to bag the 2 years in the UK.
- The Graduate Route is open to all higher level students from undergraduate to PhD level.
- PhD grads will be entitled to an additional year in the UK.
- If you want to stay past the 2 years, you have to apply for a Tier 2 General Work visa before your Graduate Route visa’s time runs out.
What Does It Mean for You?
This could change your entire career. The opportunity to stay in the country to gain work experience is a biggie because it’s a gift of time. Instead of having to worry about finding a job straight after you graduate, you can take the time to experiment and find the right path for you.
In the past international grads haven’t had it easy. They’ve had to get it right the first time by applying in the right place, at the right time and in the right way to be successful. Now you can make mistakes: apply and fail, change your mind and try over again until you get it right.
But this gift must be used wisely. Make sure that you’re still diligent about applying to the right jobs for your career – don’t waste your time as a bar tender. Get out there and aim high!
What’s the deal with Tier 2 sponsorship?
After your Graduate Route visa is up – that’s it. Unless you transfer to a Tier 2 General Work visa.
These visas depend on sponsorship. There are loads of employers that are already verified sponsors so be sure that you’re applying for jobs that can keep you here (if here is where you want to be!)
Your dream job could be at a smaller company that hasn’t applied to be a licensed sponsor yet. Even if they promise to do this before your time is up, please be careful! This is your future we’re talking about, so take charge and make sure that you can be here to fight for it.
How to find Graduate Route jobs
Now that you know what’s going on with Graduate Route visas, where should you look for a job?
For transparent job roles and employers that really care, check out DigitalGrads. We check visa statuses for employers and can help you find the right company for you. Sign up today to begin searching for your dream role.