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The Post Study Work Visa

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The post study work visa or graduate visa is now open for immigration applications. Research shows that may international students and UK employers are either unaware of the new visa or don’t fully appreciate what it can offer both international students studying in the UK on student visas and UK business owners. In this article we look at the advantages of the post study work visa from the perspective of individual immigration and potential employees and business immigration for UK employers.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on any aspect of immigration law call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

The graduate visa - great news for UK employers

The graduate visa or post study work visa is great news for UK employers. The immigration route opened to applications on the 1 July 2021. So far, many large and small UK employers have not appreciated the flexibility of the graduate visa scheme in comparison to the skilled worker visa or the intra company transfer visa.

UK employers may have been slow to appreciate the advantages and importance of the graduate visa because they have been shielded from the looming recruitment crisis brought about by the UK skills gap. That is down to COVID-19 related business closures and the slow opening up of some sectors of the UK economy.

The graduate visa will help UK employers because:

  • It makes the UK a more attractive study destination for international students thus potentially increasing the pool of long-term overseas talent who will want to work and ultimately settle in the UK after completing their studies.
  • The post study work visa is both employer and employee friendly as the UK employer does not need a sponsor licenceto employ an overseas worker on a graduate visa and the graduate visa applicant therefore does not need a sponsoring employer. That means the international student applying for a graduate visa has a full range of employer options and isn’t restricted to those UK employers who hold a sponsor licence to enable them to sponsor a skilled worker visa holder.
  • The graduate visa isn’t restricted to certain types of work. That means a UK employer can recruit someone to fill any level of job on any salary, without having to consider standard occupation codes, skill requirements or the minimum salary threshold. The post study work visa is flexible enough to allow you to employ someone as a barista, labourer on a construction site or on a trainee management programme. That’s because the graduate visa eligibility criteria focus on the student’s qualification rather than the job.

The graduate visa – why it works for students  

One of the key advantages of the graduate visa is that you don’t need to have secured an offer of a job from a UK employer before you apply for a post study work visa. That means a graduate can take their time to find the right employment and , if necessary, work in a number of temporary jobs until they can find the best employment to start them on their career.

The UK graduate visa is not open to all overseas students, just those who are in the UK on a student visa and who have successfully completed a degree or postgraduate course in the UK. The visa enables them to remain in the UK for two years. The visa length is up to three years if the international student has completed a Ph.D. or equivalent qualification.

The post study work visa offers flexibility as whilst it does not lead to direct settlement in the UK a graduate visa holder can apply to switch from the post study work visa to a skilled worker visa or to a family visa or other type of visa. Many international students will see the graduate visa as a temporary immigration status solution allowing them to work in the UK whilst they look at their UK career options and find a sponsoring employer who is willing to sponsor them on a skilled worker visa. Others, who view the UK as a temporary stay post study, will be able to take up employment with employers who don’t hold sponsor licencesor in jobs that don’t meet the eligibility criteria for the skilled worker visa.

The eligibility criteria for the post study work visa

An international student will meet the eligibility criteria for the UK graduate visa if:

  • The application is made from within the UK.
  • The application is made whilst the student is in the UK on a student visa and their course was undertaken whilst on a student visa. The immigration rules state that applicants must have studied their course in the UK for at least one year or the full length of their course, whichever is the shorter period.
  • The application is made after successfully completing a bachelor’s degree or a postgraduate degree in the UK with an approved education provider with a track record of sponsorship compliance.

Post study work visa or skilled worker visa

The new post study work visa is undoubtedly more flexible than the skilled worker visa and offers significant advantages to both UK employers and international students studying in the UK. However, neither UK employer or overseas student should ignore the skilled worker visa as this visa, with its new entrant criteria, may be more appropriate for international students whose primary goal is to settle in the UK and secure indefinite leave to remain as soon as possible and best for UK employers who are looking to secure and employ a more stable long term work force.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on any aspect of immigration law call the immigration team at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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