Thursday 26 September 2019

In a major boost for International students, the UK Government has today announced a new two-year post-study work visa, expanding opportunities for talented international students to build successful careers in the UK.

The new ‘Graduate’ route will be open to all international students – including those from Nepal – who have valid UK immigration status as a student and have successfully completed a course of study in any subject at the undergraduate level or above at an approved UK Higher Education Provider. The visa will allow eligible students to work, or look for work, in any career or position of their choice, for two years after completing their studies.

This gives students valuable work experience at the start of their careers. It also builds on UK government action to help recruit and retain the best and brightest global talent, as well as opening up opportunities for future breakthroughs in science, technology and research and other world-leading work that international talent brings to the UK.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
“The new Graduate Route will mean talented international students, whether in science and maths or technology and engineering, can study in the UK and then gain valuable work experience as they go on to build successful careers. It demonstrates our global outlook and will ensure that we continue to attract the best and brightest.”

Maddalaine Ansell, Director Education, British Council said:
"The British Council strongly welcomes the announcement of a new immigration route that will give international students more time to find skilled work after they graduate. We have long recognised the enormous economic and socio-cultural benefits that international students bring to the UK. This new immigration route will also support the UK's ambitions to increase the number of international students studying in the UK each year to 600,000 by 2030. There is nothing more powerful in cultural relations than people from around the world coming to work and study in the UK. They return home with positive attitudes towards the UK and are more likely to visit us, trade with us and, if they end up in positions of power, support us in the international arena."

The UK welcomes genuine international students for the positive contribution they make to the UK. This announcement follows the creation of a new fast-track visa route for scientists and the removal of the limit on PhD students moving into the skilled work visa route, which collectively aims to cement the UK as a science superpower and a world-leader in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sector. Almost half of all Indian students heading to the UK in the last ten years (almost 130,000 since 2008/9) chose a STEM subject.


  • Often referred to as a ‘Post-Study Work visa’ in Nepal, the new Graduate route will launch for the 2020/21 intake of students to university. After the two years, they will be able to switch onto the skilled work visa if they find a job that meets the skill requirement of the route. Further details will be announced in due course.
  • The visa will offer opportunities to work or look for work after graduating. However, unlike the route which closed in 2012, this new route will also include safeguards to ensure only genuine, credible students are eligible.
  • The status of each higher education institution will be shown in the register of licensed sponsors, which is publicly available on the GOV.UK website.
  • This follows a shake-up of immigration rules announced by the Prime Minister in August to encourage the world’s top scientists to move to the UK.

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About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK