The UK Government have announced a new visa which will allow international graduates to stay in the UK to work upon completion of your studies. The full details have not been released but this confirms what we know so far. 

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

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 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 on or before 21 June 2021 to complete their course.

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 the UK before the end date of their course. The course end date is the end date as detailed on your My Imperial course record and was on your CAS.

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. If you are undertaking a one year Masters course and began your course by distance learning and haven’t yet come to the UK, you can still apply under this scheme as long as:

  • You enter the UK by 21 June 2021 and complete the remainder of your course in the UK.
  • You enter the UK on a Tier 4 / Student Route visa which has been issued for the course you are studying
  • You successfully pass your course

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 the UK before the end date of their course. The course end date is the end date as detailed on your My Imperial course record and was on your CAS.

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.

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.