Working after your studies – Graduate Immigration Route

The Graduate Visa Route was launched on 1st July 2021. This route is designed for international students who successfully complete degree courses in the UK, and permits employment within the UK with no salary or role specifications. The visa allows you to take up any employment opportunities you can find in the UK. There are no restrictions on the employer, salary level or position you take, so it is an opportunity to gain experience to start or boost your career.

Eligibility

The Graduate Route is available for students who:

  • Have been studying in the UK on either the Student Route or Tier 4 Visa route.
  • Have paid their tuition fees in full.
  • Have successfully completed an undergraduate or postgraduate course that is confirmed at an exam-board.
  • Have a valid student visa (ie. not expired) at the time of application for the Graduate Route.
  • Are currently in the UK (you must be in the UK when you apply).

You will not be eligible if any of the following apply:

  • You have not been studying in the UK on a student visa.
  • You have not paid your tuition fees in full.
  • You have not completed an undergraduate or postgraduate course (ie. not confirmed at an exam-board).
  • Your student visa has expired
  • You are not in the UK

Key details

  • The Graduate Visa lasts for:
    • Two years – for students completing undergraduate or postgraduate (Masters) courses.
    • Three years - for PhD students.
  • Application costs:
    • The visa application fee is £715 per applicant.
    • And there is a healthcare surcharge of £624 for each year you will be in the UK.
      • Total of £1248 for undergraduate/masters graduates
      • Total of £1872 for PhD graduates.
  • New dependants are not permitted. You can only apply with dependants if they are your existing dependants while you have been on the Student Route or Tier 4 visa. Dependants must also be physically present in the UK to apply as your Graduate Route dependant.
  • You will be eligible to apply for the Graduate Visa once the University has informed the Home Office that you have successfully completed your degree, and has emailed you confirmation of this. The email will include your most recent CAS number, which you must submit with your application.
  • You must NOT submit an application for the Graduate Visa until the University has emailed you confirming it has contacted the Home Office and that you are eligible to apply.
  • You must not leave the UK while you are waiting for the outcome of your Graduate Visa application. If you do, your application will no longer be valid.
  • You can only obtain this visa once, even if you study more than one course in the UK in future.

Find out more

The Guidance from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has further details about eligibility, the requirements and how to apply, plus links to Home Office guidance. There is also further information about other work visas if you are not eligible to apply for the Graduate Route.

When can I apply for the graduate route?

You must not apply for the Graduate Visa UNTIL you have received an email from Birmingham City University confirming that your degree award has been reported to the Home Office. The email will be sent to your BCU email account and will have the subject line: Graduate Route – Confirmation of Report. The email will also contain your most recent CAS number which you must submit with your application.

When will BCU notify the Home Office that I am eligible for the Graduate Route?

BCU will report eligible students within 10 working days of exam results being confirmed. Reports will NOT be made based on provisional results or for students who have any outstanding tuition fees.

Which students will BCU report to the Home Office as eligible for the Graduate Visa?

The University will only inform the Home Office of those students who meet ALL of the criteria below:

  • Have been studying in the UK on either the Student Route or Tier 4 Visa route.
  • Have paid their tuition fees in full.
  • Have successfully completed and been awarded their undergraduate or postgraduate degree course
  • Have a valid student visa (ie. not expired) at the time of application for the Graduate Route.
  • Are currently in the UK and arrived by the required dates as per the Graduate Visa requirements and we have evidence of this. This evidence may include a stamped vignette, presence at on-campus enrolment, address in the UK etc.

How will I know that BCU has informed the Home Office of my eligibility?

BCU will send an email to your BCU student account with the subject line: Graduate Route – Confirmation of Report.

I received my exam results more than 10 working days ago (Monday to Friday) but have not received a confirmation email. What should I do?

Firstly, please thoroughly search your BCU email account for a message with the title: Graduate Route – Confirmation of Report.

If you cannot find such a message, please email: graduateRoute@bcu.ac.uk with the subject line: Eligibility Check and include your Student ID number, and we will investigate.

I haven’t received a confirmation email from the University but I have already applied. What should I do?

If the University hasn’t reported a given student to the Home Office as eligible for the Graduate Visa, but the Home Office then receives an application for the route from that student, the Home Office will contact the University to confirm eligibility. Please note this will cause a delay to your application.

If I owe money to the University, will I be eligible for the Graduate Visa?

If you owe any tuition fees to the University, you will not be eligible for the Graduate Visa and the University will NOT report your eligibility to the Home Office.

Therefore, it is essential that you clear all University debts before completing your course:

 https://www.bcu.ac.uk/student-info/finance-and-money-matters/payments

My Student Visa has expired, but I have Exceptional Assurance, am I eligible for the Graduate Route?

This will depend on the UKVI policy at the time you apply for the visa and is subject to change at short notice.  On the date you intend to apply for the visa (this means completing the form and paying the visa application fee and IHS fees) you must check to see if applications with Exceptional Assurance are permitted.  You can check this on the UKVI guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/graduate-caseworker-guidance ‘Validity Requirements’ (approx. page 5).  If this guidance lists Exceptional Assurance as an acceptable category, then applications are permitted.  If this is not listed, it will not be permitted. This guidance can change within a few hours, so you must check just before you intend to apply.

How long will it take to receive a decision on my Graduate Route application?

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa application within 8 weeks.

I have applied for the Graduate Visa, but can I leave the UK while I wait for the outcome?

Once an applicant submits a Graduate Visa application, they must stay in the UK until the application has been decided. If you leave the UK before you have a decision, your Graduate Visa application will be rejected.

I have a question about applying for the visa / visa requirements, who can I contact?

In the first instance, the University International Student Visa Advisers may be able to advise you (or put you in touch with someone who can). You can contact them via email: batch@bcu.ac.uk, please include your Student ID number.