UK Home Office Updates Immigration Rules for Graduate Students

The UK Home Office has released details of the key points of the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 1248. The following summarizes the changes and what impact this new visa type may have on companies’ hiring strategies for new graduates.

Key points for the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) Route:

  • The PGWP route will open at 9 am on July 1, 2021, and will be available for application to all international students who have completed a degree at a Higher Education institution in the UK.
  • The PGWP route will allow International students who have completed a:
    • Bachelor’s or a master’s degree in the UK to be granted a 2-year visa to stay in the UK and work/look for work.
    • Ph.D. in the UK to be granted a 3-year visa to stay in the UK and work/look for work.
  • Students will need to have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa when applying in the UK for the Graduate visa. Students whose Tier 4 or Student visas expire before July 1, 2021, will not be eligible to apply.
    • This is a self-sponsored visa. Sponsorship from an employer is not required for this route.
    • A job offer is not needed to apply.
    • There are no minimum salary requirements.
  • Time spent in the UK on a Graduate visa will not count towards indefinite leave to remain.
  • Once granted the Graduate visa, the visa holders will be able to switch to the Skilled Worker visa category at any point and work towards Indefinite leave to remain.
  • Dependent family members of international students can apply for a visa provided they are in the UK and were last granted a visa as a dependent family member of the main applicant. New dependents will not be allowed, other than children born during the course of the student or Graduate visas.


Application Fees:

  • The government fees to apply for the Graduate visa will be £700. Applicants will also be required to pay upfront for the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is £624 per year of the visa for adults.
  • If prospective employers chose to, they could pay for the migrant graduate to obtain their Graduate visa. Simply paying for the application fees does not commit the employer to any responsibilities towards the Graduate visa holder.


What does the PGWP Route Mean for Employers:

  • This route will allow Employers to employ migrant graduates to gauge whether there is employer-candidate compatibility before committing to the responsibilities and cost of a Skilled Worker Visa sponsorship.
  • Employers can hire Graduate visa holders for any employment arrangement, including post-graduate short-term internships or long-term full-time hires.
  • Talent Acquisition and HR teams should consider this new route to adjust hiring strategies for new graduates.


Erickson Immigration Group anticipates further information to be released in the coming months about the process of applying for this visa and the timeline. We will share this information as it becomes available.