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What Is Graduate Route Visa That UK PM Rishi Sunak Was Planning To End

Graduate Route Visa: The visa lasts two years.

After strong opposition from key cabinet members, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has decided not to go ahead with his plan to scrap the Graduate visa. Mr Sunak was earlier considering scrapping it as a way to reduce the migration figures.

What is a Graduate Route Visa?

The Graduate visa permits you “to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after completing a course” in the country, says the UK Government’s official site.

In 2023, the Graduate visa provided over 50,000 Indian students with post-study work opportunities. This accounted for 44% of all student visa extensions and the highest number among all nationalities.

Eligibility

You can apply for the Graduate visa if you are in the UK. The eligibility criteria also require a person to have “studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible courses for a minimum period of time”.

You’re eligible only if you have completed a course “with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa.”

How long can you stay in the UK on this visa?

A Graduate visa lasts two years. However, if you have a PhD or other doctoral qualification, it’s valid for three years.

It’s worth noting that the Graduate visa, which cannot be extended, starts the day your application is approved.

How much does it cost?

The application fee costs £822, while the healthcare surcharge will cost £1,035 annually.

When can a person apply for the Graduate visa?

A person has to apply for the Graduate visa before their “student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa expires.”

According to the UK authorities, you can apply after your education provider — university or college — tells the Home Office that you’ve completed the course you took with your Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa. “You do not have to wait until you’ve graduated or have been given a certificate. As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents,” the UK government website says.

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and handed in your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within eight weeks, the authorities say. You can stay in the UK while you wait for a decision.

Who all are against the scrapping of the Graduate visa?

The National Indian Students and Alumni Union UK (NISAU UK), representing Indian students and alumni in the UK, has urged the UK PM to protect the visa policy.

In addition, the United Kingdom’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has also recommended keeping the visa policy, noting there is no evidence of “abuse” of the policy.