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Your Guide to Graduate Visa for International Students

If you haven’t heard much about the new UK graduate visa immigration route for international students, this is likely because it has not yet been formally launched, although a reasonable amount of information is available regarding how it will work. There have been unsuccessful attempts to bring in a post-study graduate visa in past years, but on 11th September 2019, the UK Government made an announcement that it would be introduced. In this article, we will look at what we know so far of the new UK post-graduate visa for international students.

What Was Announced By The Home Office?

On 11th September 2019, when announcing the new post-graduate visa scheme, the Home Office stated, “The new ‘Graduate’ route will be open to all international students who have valid UK immigration status as a student and have successfully completed a course of study in any subject at undergraduate level or above at an approved UK Higher Education Provider. The visa will allow eligible students to work, or look for work, in any career or position of their choice, for two years after completing their studies”. At this point, it was unclear when this would apply from, however, it is expected to apply for graduates who started their studies in September 2020. A more recent Home Office statement said, “We also want to ensure we retain the brightest and the best students to continue to contribute to the UK post-study, which is why we are launching the Graduate route in the summer of 2021”. Home Secretary, Priti Patel, stated, “The new Graduate Route will mean talented international students, whether in science and maths or technology and engineering, can study in the UK and then gain valuable work experience as they go on to build successful careers. It demonstrates our global outlook and will ensure that we continue to attract the best and brightest”.

What Will The New Post-Graduate Visa Offer?

The new post-graduate visa will enable international students who have completed a degree at a UK Higher Education provider, to stay in the UK for two years (this is three years for PhD graduates) and to work at any skill level, and to switch into work routes if they find a suitable job. This means that those who have come to the UK to complete a degree can remain for two years to find work. While the new visa will not be extendable and nor will the time on this visa count towards settlement, when a post-study visa holder finds work, they can extend their stay by switching to a Skilled Worker visa before their post-graduate visa expires. This will allow them to start accruing time in the UK towards indefinite leave to remain (typically five years for those on a Skilled Worker visa). It is also significant that the visa allows graduates to work at any skill level as this will provide greater flexibility than a UK work visa, allowing them to find temporary employment to ‘pay the bills’ while they secure a more suitable long-term skilled role, or enter a profession at a lower level and build up.

The Government have also committed to making the application process straightforward, however, some checks will be carried out; “The application process to apply for the Graduate route will be simple, although we intend that all applications will need to be made in-country and a fee will be applied. They will also be subject to identify, criminality and security checks”.

Will Existing International Students Who Started Their Course Before September 2020 Be Eligible For The New Post-Study Work Visa?

Based on the information provided by the Home Office to date, it has not been confirmed that existing international students who started their course before September 2020 will be able to apply for the post-study work visa. The UK Council for International Student Affairs believes that this will be the case; they say, “Existing students and those who start their course this autumn [2020] will benefit from these changes, once they have been introduced in 2021. This makes logical sense as there would seem to be no reason to exclude those in their second and subsequent year, and means that 2021 graduates can start to benefit from the scheme immediately.

With regard to those who will graduate before the visa is available, the Home Office has confirmed, “Those who graduate and whose leave expires before the route is introduced will not be eligible for it, however, most of these students will have had no expectation of benefitting from such a route when they applied to study in the UK”.

Will students need to apply for the new post-study visa?

Yes, a new application will need to be made before your existing Tier 4 student visa expires. The fee amounts will be set once the route is formally launched. Applicants will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge for themselves and any of their dependant family members with them in the UK. It is unclear whether this will be £624 per year as it is for those on a Skilled Worker visa, or £470 per year as it is for students.

The application process, eligibility criteria, fees, and form will be launched in the new year on the Home Office website.

Final Words

The new post-study graduate visa for international students will offer a fantastic opportunity for those who wish to stay in the UK to kick-start their new careers. Having worked hard to complete their studies and finals, the last thing students need is to be put under enormous pressure to secure the job of their dreams. This new visa will remove this pressure by allowing graduates to stay for up to two years to live, travel, study, and work. By allowing those graduates to work in roles at any level, they will have the flexibility to find an entry-level job to build up their experience or to simply find work to provide an income while looking for a more suitable long-term role. We will keep you up to date with the latest on the post-study visa as it becomes available.

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O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

That alone shows what an amazing and talented team Reiss Edwards are. Thank you".

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"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy.

As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

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"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

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"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

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Top Notch Immigration Service

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Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly".

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Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards".

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"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards".

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Amir Sandeep

"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help".

Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

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"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee...

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Khasan Vosijonov

"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy. As a family, we...

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Saira Lawson-Brown

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Gallagher Jones

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"Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to ...

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