News & Insights

UK visa options for graduates

There are many different routes available for graduates if they would like to live and work in the UK. All of these options have different requirements and can bring the applicant over on a temporary basis whilst they work or look for work.

Graduate Visa

The graduate visa is an option if you have completed an eligible UK Degree. It allows you to stay in the UK for 2 years, or 3 if you have successfully completed a PhD or doctoral course. If you would like to stay in the UK for longer than that, you cannot extend the graduate visa but instead you may be apply for another type of visa (e.g. the skilled worker visa).

To be eligible for a graduate visa you must:

  • Currently be based in the UK;
  • Your current visa is a student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa;
  • You studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time; and
  • Your university has told the Home Office that you have successfully completed the course

On a graduate visa, you are able to do the following:

  • Work;
  • Look for work;
  • Be self-employed;
  • Live in the UK with your partner and children (if eligible);
  • Conduct voluntary work; and
  • Travel

To apply for this visa, you must apply before your student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa expires. It is not necessary to wait for your certificate or graduation first, so long as your university has reported to the Home Office that you have finished. If you are unsure, you can ask them.

The cost for the graduate visa is £715 as well as the healthcare surcharge of £624 per year.

Global Business Mobility – Graduate Trainee Visa

This visa allows applicants to live in the UK on a temporary basis as part of a course that will give the individual a specialist role or a senior managerial role.

To be eligible for the global business mobility – graduate trainee visa, you must:

  • Be 18 or over;
  • Work for an overseas company for a minimum of 3 months before the date of application;
  • The organisation needs to be linked to the UK Company by common ownership or control, or a joint venture;
  • Hold a certificate of sponsorship;
  • The job is of an appropriate skill level with a salary of at least £23,100; and
  • Have a minimum of £1,270 to support yourself or maintained by an A rated sponsor

On a global business mobility – graduate trainee visa, you can:

  • Work for your sponsor as the job listed in your certificate of sponsorship;
  • Study;
  • Bring your partner and children with you, if eligible;
  • Volunteer; and
  • Travel

On this visa you can stay in the UK for a maximum of 12 months or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days or 12 months whichever is longer. This visa cannot be extended but there is the option of applying for a different graduate trainee visa from outside the UK.

The cost for this visa is £259 for the application fee, the healthcare surcharge for each year of your stay and proof of enough personal savings.

High Potential Individual Visa

This visa is a relatively new route as it only became active earlier this year. It gives international graduates from leading universities the opportunity to work in the UK or look for work. This route is not a sponsored route so it is not necessary to have any proof from an employer to apply.

To be eligible for a high potential individual visa, you must:

  • Have a qualifying degree (at least in the last 5 years);
  • The university must be on the Global Universities List; and
  • Confirmation from Ecctis that the qualification meets the necessary standard

On a high potential individual visa, you can:

  • Work;
  • Look for work;
  • Be self-employed;
  • Live in the UK with your partner and children (if eligible);
  • Volunteer; and
  • Travel

The three mentioned above are some of the most popular routes for a graduate looking to live and work in the UK but there are many other options available including the Youth Mobility Scheme, Skilled Worker Visa and Start-up Visa.

Knowing which visa is the most appropriate for your situation can be a daunting process but we can help. For assistance with the application process, please contact Imelda at [email protected]