The new Graduate Route visa – what does this mean for employers?

The new Graduate Route visa – what does this mean for employers? by 戸山 神奈 on Unsplash

Last year the government announced the new Graduate Route visa, but what does this change mean for UK employers?

The new Graduate Route visa is life changing for all international students studying in the UK, but what about employers? Starting summer next year, talented graduates from all over the world will be able to stay and work in the country for two years after they finish their degrees.

The new visa system is simple: international students will first need a General Student visa, then a Graduate Route visa, and finally a General Work visa to live and earn in the UK. Here are the facts:

  • This route is only open to students due to graduate summer 2021 onwards.
  • Right now graduates are only eligible to stay in the UK and search for work for 4 months after their course finishes with their Tier 4 General Student visa. If they secure this work they can apply for a longer-term Tier 2 General Work visa.
  • The new visa gives all international students an extra year and a half to search for employment.
  • Eligible students must apply for the Graduate Route before their Tier 4 visa runs out to bag their 2 years in the UK.
  • The Graduate Route is open to all higher level students from undergraduate to PhD level.
  • PhD graduates will be entitled to an additional year in the UK.
  • Before the Graduate Route visa’s 2 years run out, holders will need to apply for a Tier 2 General Work visa to stay in the UK.

This is a fantastic opportunity for all international students. It’s great to see the government investing in talent from around the world. This is also great news for UK employers because you can now offer longer-termed internships and work experience opportunities while having more time to arrange Tier 2 visa sponsorship.

What’s the deal with Tier 2 sponsorship?

Thanks to the Graduate Route, your talented international grad is able to remain in the UK for 2 years (or 3 if they’re a PhD grad) after they complete their course. Before this period is up, they will have to apply for a Tier 2 General Work visa. As an employer, you should probably be aware of this well in advance.

Before you begin offering to take on an international graduate, are you a licensed sponsor? If not, you could be signing your new juniors up for disappointment once their Graduate Route visa expires.

If you take on an international grad and promise to apply to be a sponsor, please go through with this. Nothing will be more heart-breaking than a grad realising that all the time and effort they’ve put into their role at your company is for nothing.

How to find Graduate Route job hunters

So now that you know about your moral responsibility to prepare to sponsor your new hire, let’s find them for you.

DigitalGrads are graduate recruitment experts. Our unique applicant process weeds out the poor candidates – and what we’re often left with are passionate international grads looking for employment. We’ve even simplified the visa process by doing all the checks for you.

Sign up to our platform today to begin finding the junior talent your company needs.