International students are one of the most negatively impacted due to this global catastrophe. From UCU strikes to severe disruption in their education, the current batch has been severely impacted, hampering their overall mental, emotional and financial well-being. Graduating students seem unable to secure any form of meaningful job or work experience. Many have lost existing job offers. The grant of this extension would be hugely welcome and most appreciated during this global crisis.
Graduates have 4 months after studying, which the Graduate route will increase by 2 years in 2021. We have introduced measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and support international students.
All students are granted a period of leave after the course completion date stated on a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). The period of leave granted is dependent on the length and type of course studied. Courses at degree level or above, in excess of one year are granted a four-month period at the end of the course.
The Graduate route will enable eligible students to apply for work or look for work for two years after completing their studies. The Graduate route represents a significant improvement in our offer to international students, but as it takes time to introduce a new route we will not be offering it to those who graduate this summer (2020).
The Graduate route will be launched in the summer of 2021. To be eligible for the route, students must successfully complete a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance and must hold valid leave as a student when the route is introduced. The status of each provider is listed within the register of sponsors below, HEPs have the status of ‘Tier 4 sponsor – track record’ on the register: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-of-licensed-sponsors-students.
All international students who graduate after this point, including current students, will be eligible. Those students who complete their courses prior to the introduction of the route can still benefit from the favourable switching provision into the skilled work route. Presently students switching into the skilled work route from Tier 4 are subject to a reduced salary threshold and their employers are not required to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test or pay the Immigration Skills Charge.
We recognise COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on international students and we have worked with the education sector to mitigate the issues faced by international students during this difficult period. A series of exceptional concessions have been introduced to support international students during the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures include allowing students to study remotely via distance learning and permitting students to apply for further courses from within the UK where this otherwise wouldn’t be permitted.
Full details of the exceptional measures which have been put in place can be located within the Tier 4 COVID-19 guidance below:
Students switching into Tier 2 are able to commence their employment prior to a decision being made on their applications, provided they have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), have applied prior to the expiry of their current period of leave and the role they will be employed in matches the role listed on the CoS.
We have also temporarily amended the Right to Work check procedure to make the process simpler and enable checks to be conducted electronically. These checks can now be carried out over video calls and applicants can submit scanned copies or photographic evidence of their documents to evidence their Right to Work.