For many international students, the journey to the UK begins with a Student Visa, transitions into a Graduate visa upon completion of their studies, and then the following question arises when their Graduate visa nears its end: What is the next step? This blog aims to answer this question.
Typically, a Graduate visa spans 2 years (or 3 for those completing a PHD or similar doctoral qualification), however, it cannot be extended. One of the most viable pathways for those facing the conclusion of their Graduate visa is to transition to a Skilled Worker visa. This visa category stands as the primary route for employment in the UK. Switching to a Skilled Worker visa not only allows for continued residence, but also offers the prospect of working for an employer for up to five years, with the possibility of extension.
Moreover, unlike the Graduate route, time spent under a Skilled Worker visa counts towards settlement. After a continuous five-year period of residence, one becomes eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, and, thereafter, British citizenship.
Transitioning from a Graduate visa to a Skilled Worker visa entails securing a job offer from a UK employer holding a valid Sponsor Licence. Should the employer lack such a licence, they must apply for and obtain one before proceeding with your Skilled Worker visa application. Your prospective employer would then assign you a Certificate of Sponsorship – an electronic document outlining details of your anticipated role. Meeting various criteria, including minimum skill levels, salary thresholds and English language proficiency, is crucial for a successful application.
In instances where securing a sponsored job offer proves challenging before the Graduate visa expires, exploring alternative visa options becomes crucial. If leaving the UK is not something you desire, investigating your eligibility for other visa types is recommended. For instance, individuals with a partner in the UK who is either a British citizen or a settled person, may qualify for a family visa, provided they meet specified requirements.
As the expiration date of your Graduate visa approaches, it is essential to proactively plan your next steps. Whether it’s transitioning to a Skilled Worker visa, exploring alternative visa routes or preparing for departure, understanding your options is key.
How Gherson can assist
Gherson has extensive experience in all aspects of UK immigration law. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on X, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.
The information in this blog 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 this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not 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.