The United Kingdom Government has announced that international students who want to work in England following the successful completion of a UK degree at bachelor’s degree-level or above, or an eligible professional qualification, can now do so.
Nigeria is one of the main countries sending students to the UK, and the numbers have increased in recent years. According to statistics, in 2020 over 13,000 Nigerian students were granted a UK study visa, an increase of 56 per cent on the year before.
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The British government said the graduates could look for work after their studies for a maximum period of two years and three years for PhD students.
According to a statement by the British High Commission, this will allow the UK to retain the brightest and the best students to continue to contribute to the UK post-study.
It added that applications for the graduate route will open on July 1, 2021, ensuring Nigerian students would continue to choose the UK as the destination to study and build their careers.
This was contained in a statement on Thursday, titled, ‘New UK post-study graduate route to open to Nigerian students this summer,’ signed by the second Secretary Political/Head of Communications, British High Commission, Dean Hurlock.
It stated, ‘’Today, the UK government has confirmed the new Graduate route will open for applications on 1 July 2021, to international students who successfully complete a degree at undergraduate level or above in the UK. 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 allow the UK to retain the brightest and the best students to continue to contribute to the UK post-study.’’
The high commission also disclosed that the coronavirus concessions for students unable to travel to the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic have also been extended, recognising the continuing disruption many face in international travel.
It said applicants who began their studies in autumn 2020 will have to have been in the UK by June 21 (updated from 6 April 2021) to be eligible to apply to the Graduate route, adding that students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by September 27.
“’The Graduate route will be unsponsored, meaning 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 statement noted.
It said the new graduate route would 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.
Commenting on the development, the 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.”
In her remarks, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, stated, “In 2020, over 13,000 Nigerian students were granted a UK study visa to continue their academic journey. This is a testament to the strengthening educational relationship between the UK and Nigeria.”
“We hope the launch of this new post-study work route will provide an exciting opportunity for Nigerian students to build their careers, and discover new opportunities that the UK has to offer.”