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LS Legal News Bulletin

Back To School - Studying In The UK And Staying After Graduation

Back To School - Studying In The UK And Staying After Graduation

Tuesday 31st August 2021
Jasmin Bugg

As the start of the new academic year approaches, UK universities are preparing to welcome students, returning and new. UK universities have adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring student safety remains a top priority while continuing to deliver the world-class teaching the UK is known for.

As such, this update focuses on the essential updates for prospective students and their families, looks at the pros and cons of routes students might take to stay in the UK after graduation, and answers frequently asked questions.

Student Visa - post-BREXIT updates

From January 2021, all visitors can study in the UK as much as they want for up to six months. EU, EEA, and Swiss students do not need a visitor visa: they can arrive at the border and enter through the electronic passport gates to be granted entry.

Students who want to study in the UK for more than 11 months need to apply for a Student visa. This visa is only for students who already have an intermediate level of English. International students in the UK are only allowed to work if they study a full-time course at a higher education institution and can work a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time.

Child Student & Parent of a Child Student visas: Can both parents travel to the UK?

You can apply for a Child Student visa if your child is between 4 and 17 years old and you want them to study at an independent school in the UK. A Child Student Visa is granted for 3 or 6 years, depending on the age of the child.

The Parent of a Child Student Visa will allow one parent to come to the UK to care for their child (or children) where the child is studying at an independent fee-paying school under a Child Student Visa. If your application for a Parent of a Child Student Visa is successful, you will be granted leave which expires at the same time as that of the Child Student, or on the Child Student's 12th birthday, whichever is sooner.

Only one parent can travel to the UK on a Parent of a Child Student Visa, even where multiple children are attending school. The other parent may be able to enter as a visitor for short visits or make an application under a different category of the Immigration Rules.

New Graduate Visa - Pros and Cons

The new Graduate route went live on 01 July 2021, opening a flexible unsponsored path for eligible international students to stay in the UK after graduation. A person is only eligible to switch to the Graduate route if they hold a student visa. They cannot switch into the route from other immigration categories.

The length of the immigration permission may have to be weighed up against possibly foregoing time in another immigration category such as Skilled Worker, which leads to settlement. Although time spent in the Graduate route does not directly lead to settlement, time spent in the UK under such route can be counted towards the 10 years lawful residence required for indefinite leave to remain based on long residence.

When might an alternative route to a Graduate visa be the preferred option?
If you have been given a permanent job offer, you may prefer to move directly into the Skilled Worker route because this leads to settlement in its own right, after spending 5 years in the UK as a Skilled Worker.

Another reason may be the desire to join a partner or child who was not included as a dependant on your student visa. Such a dependant cannot qualify for immigration permission as a dependant of a Graduate.

If you intend to continue studying a course that would qualify for the grant of another Student visa, you should make a further application as a Student. You would be prohibited from studying this kind of course with a Graduate visa.

I have been away from the UK because of COVID. Will I be able to apply for a Graduate visa?
Some periods where you have been studying remotely will be allowed without affecting your eligibility to apply. The government have confirmed that:

• Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 via distance learning, and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate application if they make a successful Student visa application and arrive in the UK either before their visa ends or by 27 September 2021, whichever is sooner.

• Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 who have existing permission as a student to study that course, and who have already travelled to the UK during that period of permission, will be able to make a Graduate application if they are present in the UK before the end date of their permission.

• Students sponsored for a course lasting longer than 12 months will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate route because of any distance learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021.

I have been studying in the UK but not on Tier 4 or a Student visa. Can I apply for the Graduate Route?
Not usually, as the main eligibility criteria is that you need to hold a Student or Tier 4 visa. If you are on a course longer than 12 months, it may still be possible to apply if you switched to a student visa for at least the last 12 months of the course.

Can I apply for a Graduate visa from outside the UK?
No, you need to be in the UK and still have unexpired permission as a Tier 4 Student or a Student visa holder.

Can I start a business on a Graduate visa?

You can run a business while on the Graduate route as you can be self-employed. However, we do not yet know how this would affect your eligibility to later make a Start-up visa application based on a business you start while on the Graduate route.

Start-Up Visa: Move to the UK and set up your business after graduation anywhere in the world.

The Home Office has taken a more progressive approach in how it treats foreign entrepreneurship. Would-be applicants for a start-up visa do not need to show that they already have money to put into the business to secure the visa. The start-up visa is open to anyone who has an idea translatable into a viable business plan, meaning that talented and ambitious entrepreneurs are no longer prevented from setting up businesses in the UK due to lack of funds or UK qualifications.

The UK Start-up visa offers an opportunity for anyone who wants to set up a new and innovative business in the UK to come to the UK for two years. The most significant advantage of the start-up visa is that no investment funds are needed.

The applicant needs to prove that they have a new idea that is original and innovative. You cannot join an existing business in the UK. It should be a different idea from anything else that is available in the UK market.

To apply for the start-up visa, you first need to get an endorsement from an approved body. You should apply to the endorsing body that will suit your requirements. Requirements may include your specific business field, your business's location, and the support you will need. LS Legal Solicitors can introduce Start-up visa applicants to suitable endorsing bodies.

Please feel free to email us your questions at info@LSLegaLUK.com or give us a call at +44 (0) 75 3595 9450 to discuss your legal matter.