A recently launched UK Graduate Visa will allow overseas students who have graduated with a degree or postgraduate course in the UK to remain in the countryfor at least two years (three years for PhD graduates).
The introduction of this new visa is a fantastic opportunity for graduates and employers alike. Graduates will no longer be under pressure to leave the UK as soon as their student visa expires. The new visa allows them to start building careers in the UK, and if they want to stay longer, they can transfer their visa to a work visa or family visa, depending on their circumstances.
The Government has introduced this scheme because as the UK recovers from the pandemic, demand for a highly qualified workforce is growing fast. Indeed, according to financial analysts at PWC, “the UK could be the fastest-growing G7 economy up to 2050”.
This new visa aims to encourage overseas graduates to stay in the UK and starttheir careers in the UK and will be just as beneficial for employers desperate for talented staff, allowing them to choose from a wider pool of highly qualified candidates as the economy grows.
Applicants for this new scheme will need to have a valid Student visa (formerly Tier 4) before they start their course of study and will need to pass either the B1 SELT or B2 SELT English exams to qualify for their student visa. Once the student visa expires, international students who have graduated from an eligible undergraduate (or higher) course at a UK higher education provider will be able to apply for the new Graduate Visa. They will not have to take any further English qualifications in addition to the B1 SELT or B2 SELT exams they took to qualify for their Student Visa.
The B1 and B2 SELT tests are Government approved and can only be taken at approved SELT test centres such as those run by LanguageCert, an approved SELT provider, and one of the four Home Office approved suppliers. Candidates should contact their sponsors or academic institutions to confirm the exam type and CEFR level they must achieve before registering for a LanguageCert exam.
LanguageCert is an awarding organisation that offers Home Office-approved,
LanguageCert Secure English Language Tests (SELTs) accepted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as proof of English proficiency for those wishing to live, work and study in the UK. If a SELT exam is not required, candidates can take a LanguageCert International ESOL exam to meet their university admission requirements.
When this new visa was announced in March 2021, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration Kevin Foster stated, “As we rebuild from the global pandemic, we want the world’s brightest talent, who aspire to a career at the highest levels of business, science, the arts and technology to see our United Kingdom as the natural place to fulfil their aspirations. The changes announced today will ensure once they have received a gold standard qualification from one of our world-leading education institutions, they can easily secure the status they need to continue living, working, and fulfilling their dreams in the UK”.