UK visa

Image: Adobe Stock

Study and stay: New UK visa for international graduates

The UK government will offer a new post-study work visa from 1 July 2021 for international students wishing to stay on in the country.

UK visa

Image: Adobe Stock

International students graduating from their studies in the United Kingdom will soon be able to stay in the country for up to three years after completing their courses.

Sable International citizenship and immigration director John Dunn said this initiative would help the UK’s economy since it will allow the country to offer opportunities to students who have gained key skills which may be beneficial to the UK’s economy.


Currently, it is required of international graduates in the UK to secure a job offer from an employer (sponsor) in the country before lodging applications for a work visa which would allow them to take up employment and stay in the United Kingdom.  

“In short, the new changes are very positive for students looking to stay on in the UK after studying. In the recent past those South Africans that did want to stay on in the UK would have had to have had a company offer them a job and sponsor them on a work permit,” said Dunn, as reported in BusinessTech.


Dunn also said that the UK’s post-study work visa would facilitate businesses in the UK to employ international students with qualifications and skills gained in the UK. The new post-study visa would allow graduates who often leave the UK after completing their studies to stay in the UK and pursue professional work options.

This was proving to be a challenge to many international graduates who often battled to find employment in the UK without having any work experience. This development will now change this, and also stands to benefit the UK’s economy.

“This is not always that easy as a fresh graduate with little work experience, so it is a welcomed change,” Dunn said.

The following criteria will apply for this new visa option:

  • The post-study visa will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance, and who have valid student visa permission at the time of application.
  • Successful applicants at bachelor’s or master’s levels will be able to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level for two years. Doctoral students will be able to stay for three years.
  • Applicants are required to pay the required fees for the graduate visa and apply for such before their student visa expires. The exact fee has not yet been finalised.
  • Applicants do not need to be in employment to stay on the graduate route and there is no restriction on the kind of work they can do.
  • There are no minimum salary requirements no caps on numbers.
  • Applicants can spend as long as they like looking for work and are able to leave or switch jobs without any effect on their visa.
  • Graduates will be able to apply for a Skilled Work Visa from within the UK, once they have secured suitable employment.
  • Individuals who already have permission as a dependant of a student who is applying on this visa route can also apply to extend their permission as a dependant. However, new dependants are not permitted on this route.
  • Graduates may work flexible working hours, are free to switch jobs and develop their careers as required.