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Why is the new graduate route attracting students from the Middle East?

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

Over the last few years we have continued to see thousands of students from GCC nations choose the UK’s world-class higher-education system as the destination for their studies.

Despite the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic, the UK remains an attractive option for Middle Eastern students since the announcement of the new Graduate immigration route.

What is the ‘Graduate visa route’ and can I apply for it?

The route will enable international students who have completed an eligible course of study to remain in the UK to work or seek employment.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said the change was designed to help students unlock their potential and start their careers in the UK.

From 1 July 2021, qualifying international students who have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree will be granted a two-year extension of leave under the Graduate Route. Those students who have successfully completed a PhD will be granted leave for a period of three years.

The Graduate route will be unsponsored, meaning applicants will not need a job offer to apply for the route. There will be no minimum salary requirements or cap on the number of applications. Graduates on the route will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required.  Graduate visa holders will also be permitted to engage in self-employment, though work as a professional sportsperson is prohibited.

Applicants who began their studies in Autumn 2020 will now have until 21 June 2021 to enter the UK (extended from 6 April 2021) in order to be eligible for the Graduate route. Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by 27 September 2021.

Any student who in the 12 months before applying had been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK will need to obtain written consent to the application from that Government or agency. This requirement will particularly affect students from the GCC who often benefit from Government funding for overseas studies.

Gherson has extensive experience with Student visa applications. If you are a prospective student, or if your studies have been disrupted by COVID-19, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an: e-mail, or alternatively, follow us on Twitter to stay up to date.


The information in these blogs is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in these blogs. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2021

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