The British High Commission on Thursday confirmed the new Graduate route will open for applications from July onwards to international students, including those from India, who successfully complete a degree at undergraduate level or above in the UK.
The British High Commission in a release said international students on the Graduate route will be able to work or look for work after their studies for a maximum period of two years (three years for PhD students). This will help allow the brightest and the best students from India to continue to contribute to the UK post-study.
"Indian students are already one of the largest international groups studying in the UK and make a huge contribution to UK public life. According to the most recent statistics, the number of student visas issued to students from India increased by 42 per cent compared to the previous year -- now numbering more than 53,000. This represents 23 per cent of all student visas issued - up from 13 per cent in the previous year," the release said.
Coronavirus concessions for students unable to travel to the UK due to coronavirus have also been extended, recognising the continuing disruption in international travel. Applicants who began their studies in autumn 2020 will now be required to enter the UK by 21 June 2021 (updated from 6 April 2021) to be eligible to apply to the Graduate route. Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by 27 September 2021.
UK Minister for Future Borders and Immigration Kevin Foster said: "As we rebuild from the impact of the global pandemic we want the world's brightest talents to see the UK as the natural home for their aspirations."
"The launch of this new route will ensure those who graduate from our world-leading institutions will easily be able to secure the status they deserve to continue living and working as they make our United Kingdom their home."
Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India, said: "The flow of students between India and the UK makes the human connection between our countries - the "living bridge" - ever stronger. I'm delighted that increasing numbers of talented Indian students are choosing the UK to study, and even more so that the Graduate route will allow them to work in the UK after their studies. Their presence is the heart of the new partnership between India and the UK."
Barbara Wickham, Director of India, British Council, said: "The UK is committed to supporting thousands of Indian students in their dreams to pursue a world-class UK education and post study employment opportunities. Given the pandemic travel restrictions, these new timelines to reach the UK will help ensure international students are able to benefit from the Graduate Route and gain coveted international work experience."
"Indian students are encouraged to reach out to their universities and seek regular guidance on blended learning, the recommended time to travel to the UK, and on any other support required on campus."
The Graduate route will be unsponsored, meng applicants will not need a job offer to apply for the route. There will be no minimum salary requirements nor caps on numbers - graduates on the route will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required.
To be eligible, international students must have completed a UK degree at bachelor's degree-level or above, or an eligible professional qualification at a higher education provider, with a track record of compliance with the UK Government's immigration requirements, the release said.
"The new Graduate route will help the UK Government to achieve the ambition set out in the International Education Strategy to increase the number of international students in higher education in the UK to 600,000 by 2030," the release added.
( With inputs from ANI )
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