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Posted by : Shreya Bhattacharya

Author Designation : Senior Counselor

UK post-study work opportunities and Graduate Route visa are a big draw for Indian students



The United Kingdom has been working to attract international students, including those from India, through various initiatives, including post-study work opportunities and the Graduate Route visa. The visa, which came into effect on January 1, 2021, enables Indian students to spend up to 2 years working in the UK after their studies (and in the case of PhD students, 3 years). This is a reason why most Indian students are drawn towards pursuing their higher studies in the UK.

The Graduate Route visa is a post-study work visa introduced by the UK government to allow international students, including those from India, to stay in the UK for two years after completing their studies. This visa allows graduates to work, seek employment, or start their own businesses in the UK. Moreover, it serves as a catalyst for fostering long-term connections between the UK and India, both academically and professionally.

The key features of the Graduate Route visa as of my last update include:

  • The visa is valid for two years after graduation.
  • During this period, graduates have the flexibility to work in any role, at any skill level.
  • The visa is designed to give graduates the opportunity to find work or gain practical experience in their field of study.
  • The Graduate Route is not a pathway to settlement, but it can be a stepping stone for those wishing to switch to another visa category that leads to settlement.

Indian students have been among the largest groups of international students in the UK, and initiatives like the Graduate Route are aimed at retaining talented individuals who have studied in the country.

Effects for Graduate Route visa:

Benefits for Indian Students: The Graduate Route Visa presents a multitude of advantages for Indian students, making the UK an even more appealing destination for higher education. Not only does it provide a platform for honing their skills and expertise in a global setting, but it also enables them to build networks and relationships within the UK’s professional landscape. This exposure fosters a deeper understanding of international work culture and enhances their prospects in the global job market, thus opening doors to promising career opportunities back home in India as well.

Impact on Educational Choices: The introduction of the post-study work opportunities and Graduate Route Visa has notably influenced the decision-making process of Indian students planning to study abroad. The assurance of a post-study work period has encouraged many students to choose the UK over other competing destinations, as it provides them with the assurance of a secure future post-graduation. This shift has further solidified the UK’s position as a leading global educational hub for Indian students and has cemented the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Strengthening Bilateral Ties: Beyond the individual benefits for students, the increase in Indian students choosing the UK for higher education has fostered stronger ties between the two nations. The cultural exchange and academic collaborations that result from this influx of Indian talent contribute significantly to the multicultural fabric of the UK, enhancing diversity and promoting a globalized learning environment. Moreover, it paves the way for collaborative research initiatives and partnerships between UK and Indian institutions, fostering innovation and knowledge exchange in various fields.

The UK’s post-study work opportunities and the Graduate Route Visa have emerged as key factors in attracting a growing number of Indian students to pursue their higher education in the UK. As Indian students continue to seek opportunities abroad, the UK remains a top choice, offering not just quality education but also a promising launchpad for their professional careers.