Hosting over 4,50,000 international students every year, the UK is considered to be one of the most sought after study destinations for students aspiring to study abroad, owing to its innovative classrooms and stellar education system.
Apart from continually helping international students welfare, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson has now announced a 2-year post-study work visa as a part of the UK student visa (Graduate Immigration Route), to support students during the pandemic.
What is the new 2-year post-study work rights in the UK Student Visa - Graduate Immigration Route?
International students enrolling in the UK with tier-4 UK Student Visa in the academic year 2020-2021, may stay in the UK for 2 years soon after finishing their program and look out for work opportunities.
Existing students who are to continue their current program or kick-start a fresh course by blended or distance learning (due to the pandemic) will typically be eligible to switch into the New Graduate Immigration Route.
Online study doesn’t affect students applying for the New Graduate Route: International students who pursue a part of their program online and spend not over 11 months in the UK can apply for this PSWR hassle-free.
With the 2 years post-study work rights coming into effect, international students completing a program at the undergraduate, post-graduate, or doctorate level will be allowed to apply for the Graduate immigration route with a valid Tier 4 Visa.
On successfully meeting the eligibility criteria, all international students are accepted for the Graduate immigration route and can avail up to 2 years non-extendable leave. Over time, they will be allowed to either work or lookout for work pertaining to a specific skill set. Graduates are also entitled to swap their career to skilled work as soon as finding a career that best fits them.
Requirements for Post Study Work Visa/ Graduate Immigration Route
The UK government has issued the following guidelines for international students wanting to apply for a Graduate Immigration Route Visa:
- An international student must have received a Tier 4 student visa (General), which should be valid in 2021.
- Education providers with a better track record should have provided the Tier 4 Student Visa.
- The visa issued must be to either study a degree-level program or above, i.e. a Master’s or a Bachelor’s degree. The UK government is also planning to close the DES (Doctorate Extension Scheme), so PhD graduates will be able to benefit from the new Graduate Immigration Route.
- International students who have planned to apply for the new Graduate Immigration Route visa must pay application fees and IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge), which will surge to 624 UK Dollars (approximately) from October 2020.
International Students’ Distance Learning Guidelines
- International students who are intended to begin their course by distance/blended learning must obtain a Tier 4 visa and a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) prior to travelling to the UK for face-to-face classes in 2021.
- The start date mentioned on the CAS can state the date on which the distance learning course commences.
- Students pursuing online courses below degree level are not mandated to meet the 15 hours course duration a week to be considered as a full-time course.
The validity of Existing CAS for International Students
Tier 4 visa applications for international students can still be reconciled if the existing CAS was issued between January and July. The commencing date of any program may be later than that date mentioned on the CAS, and the UK’s Home Office will decide on whether or not to consider the applications.
On the other hand, If the CAS issued between 24 January and 31 July expires, or happens to get mentioned as ‘used’ in the application, international students may not be able to travel to the UK. In such cases, the Home Office will accept the CAS with another new application, on a case to case basis.
If there is a change in the course date and the CAS is still marked as used or expired, then the sponsors must proactively change the new date in the sponsor notes field section (if known).
International Students Switch into Tier 4 Visa:
The UK government permits new international students applying to switch into Tier 4 to begin their course ahead of their student application if:
• International students are studying with an ideal Tier 4 sponsor.
• The sponsor assigned has a CAS.
• International students have a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if required for their chosen course.
The typical guidelines for allowing the student to commence studying in these
• Only for the course specified on the CAS.
• The sponsor’s entire duties for the respective international student begin from the
CAS date issued and not from the date of application.
• If the sponsor agrees that he/she will terminate sponsorship of the international student if the UK’s Home Office either refuses the application.
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