by Helen Foley, Associate Director, Visa Compliance & Financial Aid
We know that for many of you, the opportunity to stay and work in the UK after your studies is a key part of your decision-making when applying to LBS. Building networks during your studies, taking internship employment opportunities and exploring how to put your studies into practice are all key elements of your LBS experience. All of this will be supported by the introduction in 2021 of the new Graduate visa. Announced in 2019, we are excited about the opportunities this will afford LBS students. While we await some of the finer details about the timing and requirements of the Graduate visa, we wanted to share what we already know.
WHAT WE KNOW
1. Who will be eligible for the Graduate visa? Will LBS graduates be eligible?
International students who have successfully completed a degree (at undergrad or postgrad level) at a qualifying HEI in the UK AND who have a valid Tier 4 student visa at the time they apply.
LBS is a qualifying HEI and most international students on the MBA, Masters in Analytics and Management (MAM), Masters in Management (MiM), Masters in Financial Analysis (MFA), Masters in Finance (MiF) full-time and the LBS Sloan programmes are on Tier 4 visas so will be eligible to apply.
2. When will the new visa be available?
It is being launched in Summer 2021. Eligible students graduating in or after the summer of 2021 will be able to apply.
3. What work will be possible on a Graduate visa?
Students will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years. No sponsorship will be required.
4. What happens after 2 years on the Graduate visa?
Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job. This is likely to be under Tier 2 or the Global Talent visa – we’ll know more on this when details of the new points based immigration system are confirmed early in 2021.
Students on the Graduate visa will be able to switch to another visa at any time during the 2 year period – they don’t need to wait until the end of the 2 years.
5. How will students apply for the Graduate visa?
Students will need to submit a new visa application and will be required to pay an Immigration Healthcare Surcharge fee.
LBS will be required to confirm the student has successfully completed their degree before the student can apply for the new visa.
6. Does the Graduate visa count towards long-term settlement in the UK?
No, it doesn’t. For this reason, students looking to stay in the UK long-term will probably want to switch to a longer term visa such as Tier 2 or Global Talent sooner rather than later.
7. What happens if a student only does one year on the Graduate visa? Can they re-apply again in future?
No. It will be a one-time-only visa, regardless of whether or not the student is in the UK, or whether they are working the whole time or not.
8. What happens if a student leaves the UK after their LBS studies, and wants to come back the following year on the Graduate visa. Is that possible?
No. Applicants will have to have a current, valid Tier 4 visa at the time they apply for the Graduate visa.
9. Will students’ dependents be able to apply for a visa too?
We understand that dependent visas will be available in the same way as Tier 4 dependent visas. So partners / spouses will be able to apply for a Graduate dependent visa, and will be able to work / study on the basis of this visa.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
- We don’t know the exact timing of the visa being launched, other than Summer 2021.
- We don’t know if students on Tier 4 part-time visas will be eligible. We have a few EMBA and MIF part-time students on part-time Tier 4 visas. Until we know more, we should exercise caution with these students.
- We don’t know the timing of when a student will be considered to have successfully completed their studies and be eligible to apply for the Graduate visa.