The Government should allow the newly introduced Graduate visa to be extendable and for holders of this visa to become eligible for permanent residency after 5 years.
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International applicants are denied the opportunity to engage in a fair application process simply because they possess a Graduate visa (also known as a post-study work visa) and not a British passport, EU settlement scheme or an Indefinite leave to remain.
Graduate visas are not free - they are paid for after meeting specified requirements to enable eligibility such as successful completion of an academic programme. However, international applicants are being rejected and not even afforded the chance to show their suitability for graduate roles solely because they possess this visa, as some organisations apparently uses the right to work documents as a criteria for disqualification, regardless of them having sponsorship rights.
Monday 16th May 2022
The Government does not support this proposal. The Graduate route allows eligible graduates to remain in the UK for up to 3 years, with the opportunity to switch into a route to permanent settlement.
The Government recognises the significant contribution international students who come to the UK to study make to the UK.
The main purpose of students coming to the UK is to study, and not to settle in the UK. The Graduate route, introduced in July 2021, is designed to provide greater opportunities for talented international students to be able to remain in the UK for two years (three years for PhD graduates) and find work once they have successfully completed their studies. Graduates who find an appropriate job and meet the relevant requirements will be able to apply to work routes, including the Skilled Worker route, which lead to permanent settlement.
The Graduate route represents a significant improvement on the previous offer for international students who complete a degree in the UK. The requirements of the route are simple for graduates to meet. There are safeguards to prevent the abuse of the route, but it is also unsponsored and fundamentally exists to only provide a temporary grant of leave allowing eligible international students to maximise their potential by having the opportunity of entering the labour market after their studies and at the beginning of their career. If offers the individual maximum flexibility to apply for any roles, switch jobs and develop their career in the UK as they see fit, including if they are looking to build experience or skills in order to secure a job offer which would qualify for a route to settlement.
The rules of the Graduate route have been updated to not only reflect the fact someone can switch to the Skilled Worker route if they meet the requirements, but that they can also start employment in a full-time permanent vacancy if they make a valid application once they have successfully completed their study.
Information on the Graduate route (https://www.gov.uk/graduate-visa) and switching is available on GOV.UK pages (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/appendix-student) to help employers and applicants understand the rules of the route.