Graduate Visa UK Applications – Professional Legal Support
Since being introduced in 2021, the UK Graduate Visa program has proved to be a popular pathway for international students looking to remain in Britain following their graduation. For anyone looking to take advantage of the UK Graduate Visa scheme, it is important to build a thorough understanding of the Home Office’s requirements, and to submit an application (complete with supplementary evidence) in a timely manner.
Graduates who fail to secure legal status following their graduation risk overstaying when their current visa expires. This could make it significantly more difficult to qualify for future entry to the UK, and could even raise the risk of deportation.
At Barar & Associates, we specialise in flexible and affordable legal support for all types of UK immigration and visa requirements. This includes assistance with planned and urgent UK Graduate Visa applications, along with full representation in the case of rejection and subsequent appeals.
For more information on any of the above or to discuss any of the services we provide in more detail, contact a member of the team at Barar & Associates today.
What is a Graduate Visa?
The UK’s Graduate Visa scheme was introduced to provide international students studying in the UK with the opportunity to remain in Britain following their graduation, and to look for work. The pathway is open to the international students who successfully complete studies at degree-level four above at a higher education institution approved by the Home Office.
This is an unsponsored work route for temporary UK residency, which means that applicants do not need to have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) confirming an appropriate job offer. Those who qualify under the UK Graduate Visa scheme are permitted to seek any type of work in the UK, or to spend their time looking for an appropriate position.
Depending on the level of the qualification, the graduate will be able to reside and work in the UK for a period of two years, from the date the visa becomes active.
But as is the case with most UK visa applications, successfully applying for a Graduate Visa takes time, and the risk of delays and disruptions cannot be eliminated entirely. This is why it is important to begin the application process at an early stage, in order to avoid the risk of overstaying when your current visa expires.
If you would like to learn more about the UK’s Graduate Visa scheme or have any questions regarding your eligibility, call Barar & Associates to chat with a member of our team.
How Do You Qualify for a Graduate Visa?
Qualifying for a Graduate Visa means meeting the various terms and conditions set out by the Home Office. However, the UK’s Graduate Visa scheme is slightly more flexible and accommodating than some comparable entry-paths to the UK.
Overseas students who are already in the UK and wish to seek employment following their graduation are invited to apply for a Graduate Visa. It is not necessary to provide evidence of a formal job offer to qualify, and nor does the applicant need to have funds or finance at any specific level.
It is also not necessary to demonstrate any English language ability, as this (and the other requirements above) will have been satisfied while applying for a Student Visa in the first place.
Even so, this immigration pathway falls under the current points-based system, which means that certain requirements must be met to be eligible for a graduate visa. More specifically, a sufficient number of points must be gained across three different requirements – a successful completion requirement, a qualification requirement, and a study in the UK requirement.
A Successful Completion Requirement
This means that the applicant must have successfully completed the course that they began upon receiving leave to study in the UK on the Student Visa pathway. Difficulties may be faced by those who switched courses or institutions at any point during their studies in the UK – call Barar & Associates today if this applies to you.
A Qualification Requirement
In accordance with the Graduate Visa qualification requirement, applicants must have been awarded (or be due to be awarded) a qualification at the level of a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Several professional qualifications at degree-level of above are also acceptable, including but not limited to a validated law conversion course, the Legal Practice Course for solicitors, the Bar Practice Course for barristers, a foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry, a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma in Education, and others.
A Study in the UK Requirement
This refers to the minimum length of time the applicant must have spent in the UK, based on the length of their course and the permissions they were afforded by their Student Visa. For courses of 12 months or less, the full 12 months must have been spent residing in the UK. For courses longer than 12 months, applicants must have studied in the UK for a minimum of 12 months during their course.
How Long Does the Graduate Route Visa Take?
How long the Graduate Route Visa takes will be influenced by a number of factors, in accordance with the background, requirements, and current situation of the applicant. Applications can be completed and submitted online, but it is just as important to ensure all supplementary evidence is provided as with a traditional paper-based application.
At Barar & Associates, we aim to make it as smooth and stress-free as possible for applicants from all backgrounds to gain successful entry to the UK. However complex or urgent your case may be, we will do whatever it takes to fast-track your Graduate Route Visa application, and provide all the professional legal advice and representation you need along the way.
For more information or to discuss any aspect of the Graduate Visa pathway in more detail, contact a member of the team at Barar & Associates today.
How Long Does It Take to Apply For a Graduate Visa?
Once your online application has been submitted, you have paid the relevant fee, and your biometric information has been re-enrolled (where applicable) your Graduate Visa application will take up to eight weeks to process.
It is, however, worth noting that applicants are permitted to continue residing in the UK while waiting for a decision – even if this exceeds the amount of leave remaining on their existing Student Visa.
As with all visa applications, the Home Office estimate of a maximum eight-week processing time for Graduate Visa applications is by no means a guarantee. Delays and disruptions cannot be ruled out along the way, and complications may be encountered in some instances with the provision of supporting evidence.
This is why it is important to get your Graduate Route Visa application underway as early as possible, in order to sidestep any possible delays or complications. Graduates who have received or are due to receive a degree-level qualification or higher can apply for a Graduate Visa, so it may not be necessary to wait until the last minute to submit your application.
If you would like to learn more about your eligibility under the Graduate Visa pathway, we would be delighted to speak to you at your convenience. During your initial consultation, you will be given the opportunity to raise all your questions and concerns with an experienced solicitor, with no obligation to go ahead with any of our proposals.
Can You Work Full Time on a Graduate Visa?
Yes – individuals who carry a UK Graduate Visa are legally permitted to work full time for up to two years following their graduation (extended to three years for those who have completed a PhD). There are no specific restrictions placed on the type of work that can be taken up during this time, which can be full time or part time.
In addition, it is not necessary to have secured a formal job offer, in order to successfully extend your stay in the UK under the Graduate Visa pathway. Nor do you need to seek work in a particular field, or work a specific number of weekly/monthly hours. The Graduate Visa pathway is one of the more flexible UK visa pathways, but it is important to understand the terms and conditions the applicant must fulfil, before applying.
At Barar & Associates, we provide experienced legal support and representation on all UK immigration and visa cases. Whether planning ahead or in need of assistance with an urgent immigration issue, we would be delighted to hear from you at your convenience.
Call Barar & Associates any time, or e-mail us with an overview of your requirements and we will get back to you as promptly as possible.
What Type of Work Can I Do on a Graduate Visa?
If you successfully qualify for a Graduate Visa, you will find yourself with extensive freedom of choice where subsequent employment options are concerned. Officially launched on July 1, 2021, the Graduate Visa pathway has proved highly popular among international students taking degree-level (or higher) courses in the UK.
Once you receive your Graduate Visa, you will be able to start working straight away at any level and in any capacity you choose. This includes voluntary work and even self-employment, spanning all sectors and professions. There is also no specific requirement to start work immediately, should it be necessary to spend some time seeking an appropriate position.
However, it is important to be mindful of the fact that this particular visa pathway is non-extendable. This means that once your Graduate Visa has expired, you will need to transition to a different type of visa to continue working in the UK (such as a Skilled Work Visa), or your period of legal residency will come to an end.
For more information on any of the above or to discuss your eligibility under the Graduate Visa pathway in more detail, contact a member of the team at Barar & Associates today.
What Happens After a Graduate Visa?
The Graduate Visa pathway is non-extendable, meaning that the period of leave it grants a graduate will be limited only to 2 or 3 years following its date of issue. A Graduate Visa does not provide a path to settlement, and is a strictly finite visa of limited duration.
This means that when the initial 2 or 3 years of leave to remain expires, the visa-holder will need to transition to a different type of visa, in order to continue living and working in the UK. The same also applies to any dependants they have in the country at the time, who risk overstaying if the visa-holder does not switch to a different route in time.
At Barar & Associates, we provide comprehensive legal advice, support, and representation on all visa and immigration issues. Whether considering a Graduate Visa application or looking to remain in the UK upon the expiration of your current visa, we would be delighted to hear from you.
Call the team at Barar & Associates to learn more, or email us anytime and we will get back to you as promptly as possible.
Can I Stay in the UK After a Graduate Visa?
It is only possible to stay legally in the UK after a graduate visa by switching to a different pathway. A typical example of which is the Skilled Worker route, which is also a route to settlement – aka indefinite leave to remain.
In order to qualify under the Skilled Worker pathway, the applicant needs to obtain a valid certificate of sponsorship (CoS) from a licensed sponsor, and have a formal job offer that meets the minimum skill level and salary requirements applicable to this pathway.
Additional requirements will need to be met by any partners or dependants that will reside and/or work in the UK under the primary applicant’s visa.
As the process of switching from a Graduate Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa (or similar pathway) can be complex and time-consuming, it is important to begin the process as early as possible. At Barar & Associates, we can provide you with the advice and support you need to determine whether you are an eligible candidate for such a transition, and assist with your application every step of the way.
For more information on any of the above or to discuss your requirements in more detail, contact a member of the team at Barar & Associates anytime.
Is a Graduate Visa a Skilled Worker Visa?
No – Graduate Visas and Skilled Worker Visas are not the same. They are two completely different immigration pathways, with their own unique eligibility requirements, entitlements, and restrictions.
The most important difference between the two is the way in which the Graduate Visa pathway is non-extendable, meaning that the period of leave it grants (2 or 3 years following its date of issue) cannot be extended. By contrast, the Skilled Worker pathway is a popular route to settlement – aka indefinite leave to remain.
At Barar & Associates, we can provide you with the objective advice and support you need to choose the right visa pathway to suit your requirements. Whether planning ahead or in need of support with an urgent immigration issue, we would be delighted to hear from you to discuss your case in more detail.
Can You Switch from Graduate Route to Skilled Worker?
Yes – switching from a Graduate Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa is possible, and is a popular transition among graduates looking to eventually be granted indefinite leave to remain (settlement).
Graduates can apply to switch to a Skilled Worker Visa upon meeting the requirements set out by the Home Office, as follows:
· you have a job offer from a Home Office-licensed sponsor at the required skill level
· you will be paid the relevant minimum salary threshold by your sponsor (normally £25,600 or the going rate for that particular job, whichever is higher)
· you can speak English at the intermediate level at B1 (on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages).
There are additional pathways to long-term residency or settlements that graduates may apply for, including but not limited to the Global Talent and Innovator. For more information on Skilled Worker Visa applications or to discuss any aspect of your case in more detail, contact a member of the team at Barar & Associates today.
How Long Do Skilled Worker Visa Applications Take?
The time it takes to obtain a Skilled Worker Visa will always vary on the nature and complexity of the case in question. However, once you have submitted your application online, provided all supplementary evidence and verified your identity, you will usually receive a response from the Home Office within three weeks.
But as it is impossible to rule out delays and disruptions along the way, we strongly recommend starting your application as early as possible.
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