The UK Government have launched a new visa which will allow international graduates to stay in the UK to work upon completion of your studies. Please read our guidance carefully before deciding to make an application under this route.

Please note: you cannot make an application under this route until you have been awarded your degree and the College has confirmed your eligibility to UKVI. Please read the FAQS below for more information.

To view a recording of our most recent webinar on the Graduate Worker Route, please click here to register and watch.

Please note:

Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 via distance learning, and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate application if they make a successful Student visa application and arrive in the UK either before their visa ends or by 27 September 2021, whichever is sooner.

GWR

When will this scheme be launched?

The GWR will launch on 1 July 2021. Any student on Tier 4 / Student Route immigration permission successfully completing their course after the scheme launches will be able to apply.

How long is the visa for?

If you have completed an undergraduate or postgraduate Masters degree you can apply for a 2 year GWR visa. If you have completed a PhD you can apply for a 3 year GWR visa. 

Who is eligible?

You must:

  • successfully be awarded your degree
  • have studied in the UK on a Tier 4 / student route visa
  • have a valid Tier 4 / student route visa at the time you are applying 
    • (please note: if you have been granted Exceptional Assurance in the UK under the COVID concessions this is NOT valid Tier 4 / Student Route permission and therefore you cannot make an application for GWR if you have this status)
  • be making the GWR application from within the UK
  • have completed the entirety of your degree in the UK except for permitted study abroad programmes or when distance learning has been necessary due to Covid-19.*

Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 via distance learning, and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate application if they make a successful Student visa application and arrive in the UK either before their visa ends or by 27 September 2021, whichever is sooner.

Students who began a one-year Masters programme in 2020, who have existing permission as a Student to study that course, and who have already travelled to the UK during that period of permission, will be able to make a Graduate application as long as they are present in or return to the UK before the end date of their visa. 

I have dependants with me in the UK. Can they remain as my dependents under the GWR?

Yes. If you are on a Tier 4 / student route visa anyone already in the UK as your dependant will be able to apply to extend their visa in line with yours.

You cannot apply for the GWR visa and then bring dependants to the UK from your home country. They must already be in the UK as your dependants under Tier 4 / student route in order to be eligible. 

Do I need sponsorship from an employer under GWR?

No. This is an unsponsored route to allow you to work or look for work.

Is there any restriction on the type of work I can do?

In general, you will be able to do most types of work at any level (including self-employment). However, Graduates on this route will continue to be restricted from being employed as a professional sportsperson or as a doctor or dentist in training.

Can I do another course of study if I am on a GWR visa?

This visa is given to enable you to work in the UK. You are permitted to undertake 'supplementary' study but only at an institution that is not a Student Route Sponsor. If you want to do a proper course of study you will need to apply for a student visa.

Can I switch into other visas after my time on the GWR?

Graduates will be able to switch into other routes in line with the wider approach to switching when applying for a visa inside the UK. This will include the ability to switch into work routes if you are able to meet the requirements.

Due to COVID-19 my course started remotely. Will this prevent me from applying for the GWR visa?

No. Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 via distance learning, and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate application if they make a successful Student visa application and arrive in the UK either before their visa ends or by 27 September 2021, whichever is sooner. You will still need to

  • Enter the UK on a Tier 4 / Student Route visa which has been issued for the course you are studying, and
  • Successfully pass your course

Studies commenced in 2020

Students who began a one-year Masters programme in 2020, who have existing permission as a Student to study that course, and who have already travelled to the UK during that period of permission, will be able to make a Graduate application as long as they are present in or return to the UK before the end date of their visa. 

Studies commended in 2021

Students who commence a course of 12 months or less in Autumn 2021 or Spring 2022 via distance learning from overseas must enter the UK no later than 6 April 2022 and complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a Student to be eligible for the Graduate Route. Students should travel once they are able to do so.

 

I am in the final year of my undergraduate degree / PhD but have been studying remotely due to COVID. Am I still eligible to apply?

Students on a longer programme (undergraduate degree or PhD) who are completing their course this academic year will be eligible to apply as long as:

  • You make the GWR visa application in the UK
  • You have valid Tier 4 / Student Route permission at the point you make the application
  • You successfully complete your course and are awarded your degree

Students sponsored for a course lasting longer than 12 months will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate route as a result of any distance learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021.

When can I apply?

In order to be eligible to apply you need to have been awarded your degree. Award dates are normally as follows:

  • UG students: 1 August
  • Masters students: 1 November
  • PhD students: the first of the month after you submit your final corrected thesis

The College is required to confirm your eligibility for the GWR to UKVI before you apply. Therefore, you need to wait until this has been done before you can submit an application. We will contact all eligible students with more information about this nearer the time.

How do I apply?

The GWR route and application process will not open until 1 July 2021. As soon as we have the full information about how to apply and what you will need we will update our guidance.

How much will a GWR visa cost?

The visa application fee will be £700. You will also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 per year of the visa (2 years for UG and Masters graduates, 3 years for PhD graduates).

Job application questions

Job application forms will ask questions such as

  • "Are you eligible to work in the UK?" or
  • "Do you have the right to work in the UK?"

You can answer YES to the above questions as once you have your GWR visa you can work and the visa is not connected to a specific job nor a specific employer. You should add information in a cover letter or on the application form about the GWR.

  • "Do you need be sponsored to work in the UK?"

You can answer NO to the above question as you do not need sponsorship from an employer to work whilst you are on your GWR visa.

Can I start work as soon as my course has finished?

Yes. Your Tier 4 / Student visa is likely to continue for 4 months after your course end date. This is called the ‘wrap-up period’. Upon reaching your formal course end date (in the case of PhD students completing your academic work, i.e. submitting your dissertation/thesis including final corrections) you can start working full time on a temporary contract up until your visa expiry date or a maximum period of four months (whichever is sooner).

NB: If you are one a one year Masters level programme and you made your student visa application before 5 October 2020 under the Tier 4 Pilot Scheme, you can work for the 6 month period granted at the end of your course. You must not continue working as a student after this period even if your student visa lasts for more than 4/6 months beyond your course end date.

When you can apply for the GWR visa, however, will depend on

  • when you have received your formal results and
  • your eligibility for the scheme has been confirmed by the College

See the section ‘When can I apply?’ on this page.

This means there is a gap from your formal course end date to the date you can apply for this visa.

Once you reach your visa expiry date / the 4 month period after your course end date (whichever is sooner) you must either:

  • Apply for a Graduate Worker visa
  • Seek sponsorship from an employer for a Skilled Worker visa.
  • Leave the UK