Last updated 6 December 2020
The current UKVI concession (published 24 December 2020) on the Graduate Route
There has been no change in the concessions from the UKVI on the date that students must return to the UK to be eligible for the Graduate Route:
3.21 Students will normally be expected to undertake their studies in the UK to be eligible for the Graduate route. However, if students are required to either continue their current studies or commence a new course by distance or blended learning due to Covid-19, they will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route on a concessionary basis if they spent some time studying outside the UK.
3.22 Students who are completing their course in summer 2021, including those who commenced a one-year Masters programme in September 2020, will benefit from this concession if they enter the UK on or before 6 April 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK.
UKVI: COVID-19 Guidance for Students
Representative bodies are querying if there will be any changes to the concession given the move to wholly online by some institutions, including LSE, and the current climate in the UK. We will update this page and our COVID-19 page if there are any changes.
Students should note that this would be a change to government immigration policy and would affect the whole Higher Education sector. Detailed consideration will go into any changes requested as it is immigration law affecting many. If there are no changes you may need to decide whether to plan to travel to the UK by the 6 April 2021 if you wish to benefit from the scheme. Participation in the scheme is personal choice, but you will need to ensure that you meet the eligiblity requirements when the rules are published.
Students who are studying courses lasting longer than a year in length, which are not due to be completed in 2021, and who have studied all or part of the 2020/21 academic year via distance learning will not have any period of distance learning during the 2020/21 academic year held against them in relation to the Graduate route.
The immigration rules for the Graduate Route will not be published until Spring 2021 (potentially to be in place for April 2021).
On the 13 July 2020, the Home Office released a document with further detail on the future points based system:
The UK's future points based immigration system: further details
The currently publicised detail is as follows:
You must be awarded an undergraduate degree or above from a Higher Education provider;
The degree must have been completed wholly in the UK with some exceptions e.g. study abroad. There will be no minmum length of programme to be eligible.
The degree you have been awarded must be the one that was stated on your CAS - you will need to take this into consideration when considering a programme transfer. For example, if you were issued a visa for the MSc Economics and transfer to the MSc Finance, you will not be successfully awarded the programme stated on your CAS.
However, your academic decision to transfer should not solely be based on a work visa, if transferring is the best option for your studies.
You must have a valid Tier 4/Student visa at the point of application;
You must have completed the whole of your degree in the UK (with some exceptions);
You cannot previously have been awarded leave under the Graduate Route;
You must apply in the UK for the visa;
If you were fully, financially sponsored for your studies you will need permission from you scholarship provider to apply e.g. Chevening or Commonwealth Scholarship Commission;
Undergraduate and Masters degree level students will be granted a visa for two years
PhD students will be granted a visa for three years;
You will only be eligible to have your dependants with you if they are already in the UK on a depedant visa. You cannot obtain the Graduate visa and then bring your dependants to the UK.
There will be no maintenance requirements and the English language requirement will be met by you being awarded your degree.
To confirm these are not the immigration rules and the details are still subject to change, especially as we will need clarification on eligiblity for those students who have transferred programmes or completed a work placement/fieldwork overseas. We cannot guarantee eligiblity for any student until the rules are released.
In the updated guidance provided by the UKVI, a concession is in place for students that start their programme online due to COVID-19. This period will count towards the required amount of study in the UK to be eligible for the visa, although the actual period has yet to be defined. To benefit from this concession, the UKVI state that you must be in the UK prior to the 6 April 2021 and complete your final terms in the UK.
UKVI: COVID 19 guidance
You can find the information we have on the Graduate Route in the working after your studies section of the following web page:
When you have your visa