Home » UK Graduate Route Visa: What it means for Indian students?

UK Graduate Route Visa: What it means for Indian students?

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent decision to discontinue the Graduate Route visa as part of efforts to curb migration has sparked significant backlash from both cabinet members and international students. As per reports, this controversial move has raised serious concerns about its negative effects on the UK’s higher education system and the well-being of foreign students, particularly those from India.

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Understanding the Graduate Route visa
The Graduate Route visa was introduced by the UK government in July 2021, and since then, it has been a crucial pathway for international students. As per this visa rules, a student can remain in the UK for at least two years post-graduation, and three years in case of those with PhD qualifications. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must be in the UK on a Short Term Study Visa or General Student Visa (Tier 4). The applicants will also be required to have their course completion confirmed by their education provider.

UK Graduate Route Visa: What it means for Indian students?

Coming back to the Graduate Route visa, as per rule, as long as the visa is valid, graduates can work, freelance, pursue further education, and potentially go for a ‘skilled worker’ visa in case they get employment in the UK.

The Graduate Route visa has, no doubt, been significant for Indian students for several reasons, with work opportunities and bringing their families to the UK being on top of the list. Here, it is important to note that Indian students make up for 42% of the total Graduate Route visas granted between 2021 and 2023. Needless to say, this visa is one of the most popular ones among Indian students. Discontinuation of the visa therefore raises alarm bells for Indian students.

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UK Graduate Route Visa: What it means for Indian students?

If reports are to go by, Migration Advisory Committee Chair Professor Brian Bell, emphasised that Indian students would be the most affected by any restrictions on the Graduate Route. Since the visa is one of the driving forces behind Indian students’ decision to choose the UK for higher education, its discontinuation could have adverse effects on the higher education system. As per Bell’s findings, the visa plays an important role in attracting and retaining talented individuals, which in turn benefits the UK economy and academic institutions.

The discontinuation of the Graduate Route visa stands as a pivotal issue, reflecting tensions between migration policy and the UK’s commitment to being a global hub for education.

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