UK's Graduate Route Visa To Continue; How Will It Benefit Indian Students?

The use of the graduate route visa was highest among four countries namely India, China, Pakistan, and Nigeria, the report states.
UK's Graduate Route Visa To Continue
UK's Graduate Route Visa To Continue

There’s good news for Indian students planning to study in the UK this year. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) of the UK has recommended the continuation of the graduate route work visa, also known as the post-study work (PSW) visa, in its current form. ‘The Graduate route has broadly achieved, and continues to achieve, the objectives set by this government. We, therefore, recommend that the route remains in place in its current form,’ the MAC said in a report released this month.

The UK Graduate Route Visa, introduced in 2021, specifically caters to international students recently graduating from a UK university.

What is the Graduate Route or PSW Visa?

The graduate route visa enables international students to work in Britain for two years after completing their graduation from a UK university such as Oxford, Cambridge, Sussex, SOAS, and others.

With the help of this visa, students gain work experience and get a chance to attain a more permanent visa.

More Indians seek this visa

The report highlighted that a total of 1.14 lakh graduate route visas were issued in 2023 wherein another 30,000 were given to dependants.

The use of this visa was highest among four countries namely India, China, Pakistan, and Nigeria, comprising almost 70 per cent of all graduate visas. Out of this India alone accounted for 40 per cent, i.e. a total of 45,600 visa issuance. Indian students made up a higher proportion of Graduate visas (42 per cent) compared to their proportion of Student visas (26 per cent).

What are the key benefits for Indian students?

UK work experience: This visa enables Indian graduates to stay and work in the UK for a period of two to three years (later based on PhD graduation) post the completion of studies. It adds up to getting work experience in the UK, creating better resumes, and thereby increasing the chances of attaining permanent residency in Britain.

Zero sponsorship: Unlike certain other work visas in Britain, the PSW visa doesn't demand sponsorship from any specific employer. Due to this, Indian students get the opportunity to explore career choices and change jobs when needed.

Work flexibility (sector-wise): The visa further empowers the students with zero restriction on the type of work they want to pursue enabling them to look for job opportunities in relevant fields and explore different areas of interest.

Working conditions of graduate visa holders

The report highlighted that graduate visa holders generally find lower-paid work (in sectors like healthcare occupations), though this does not remain forever. An earlier UK report from last year mentioned that the main solution to the recruiting problems in the care sector is pay and conditions.

Around 50 per cent of graduate visa holders (first group) ended up securing Skilled Worker visas to move into skilled work. ‘The graduate visa holders who move into the Skilled Worker route get earnings and work in occupations that are comparable to local graduates,’ the report mentioned.

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