UK Graduate Immigration Route: A New Opportunity for Students
PR & Visa

UK’s Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) & Its Impact on Study in UK Aspirants

UK’s Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) & Its Impact on Study in UK Aspirants

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What does the new UK immigration rule, i.e, GIR, entail? Will it have a positive impact on Indian students? Read here as we explain GIR and its possible outcomes.

Updated on:  21 Mar 2024  | Reviewed By: 
Ankit Mehra 
| 13.1K | 5  min read

Gone are the days when foreign students studying in the UK had to return to their homeland just after the completion of their course. The UK government introduced the Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) in 2019 which allows international students to enjoy an extended stay of 2 years after studying in the UK. This route will be implemented in the summer of 2021 and any overseas student who graduates in the UK in & after 2021 will be eligible for it. 
With the introduction of this new policy, a new set of speculations have arisen, especially as to what impact will it have on the international students aspiring to get higher education in the UK. 

What is the Graduate Immigration Route (GIR)?

Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) is a new immigration route that will enable international graduates to stay in the UK for 2 years post-study. In this period, students can work (in any sector or at any level) or can look for work in the country. This period is not extendable.

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History of GIR

  1. list items The Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme (SEGS) was launched in October 2004. Students who had graduated with a UK degree were allowed to work in the UK for twelve months or one year, as per this scheme. In May 2006, an expansion of the SEGS was undertaken to include more postgraduate courses that were introduced after that date.
  2. list items The International Graduates Scheme (IGS) replaced SEGS from May 1, 2007. Now, graduates could work or establish an entrepreneurial venture in the UK for 12 months without a Work Permit. On 30 June 2008, it was replaced by a Post Study Work tier system, which consisted of five tiers, all with different work permits. 
  3. list items  The Tier 1 (Post Study Work) visa was closed on April 12, 2012, because it was considered to be "far too generous”. After this, students were only allowed a four to six-month period to stay back in the UK to find a job, after which they were deported. 
  4. list items The Graduate Immigration Route was announced in 2019 to allow students a post-study stay permit of two years. 

Proceedings Of The Announcement

  1. list items On 7 March 2019, the new immigration rule closed the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) routes to initial applications in April and July respectively. Instead, two new categories, which were the 'Start-up' and 'Innovator' visas replaced these routes.
  2. list items According to GIR, all international graduates were eligible to work in the UK for two years. This new policy means that international students will be open to more employment opportunities after graduation. This policy was introduced with the aim of recruiting talented and knowledgeable graduates from STEM fields.  
  3. list items As per this policy, the visas would impose no limitations on the number and would make it easy for graduates to apply for jobs irrespective of the skills they have or subject they have pursued their studies in. 

What Do The GIR Rules Constitute? 

  1. list items Successful applicants will be able to stay, look for a job, or work for two years after their graduation. For this period, they can work at a job of any skill level.
  2. list items Once they are able to secure their desired employment, they should be able to apply for a visa or permit that will enable them to stay for longer. This will benefit the UK, as they plan to retain the skills of overseas students.
  3. list items The Graduate Immigration route will only be implemented in the Summer of 2021. Any overseas student who graduates in the UK University in and after 2021 will be eligible for GIR. 
  4. list items GIR will require an immigration application, a visa fee, and an immigration health surcharge.
  5. list items Individuals applying for the GIR don’t need a sponsor. Tier 4 sponsors do not need to carry out sponsorship duties for the students choosing the GIR route, however, they will have to be responsible for the students throughout their studying period.

What are the GIR Eligibility Criteria?

  • list items GIR will be available to international students who have achieved an undergraduate degree or higher at a UK institution providing higher education. This institution should have a track record of compliance. 
  • list items Students should have a valid tier 4 visa while applying. 
  • list items Students graduating before 2021 won’t be eligible for the GIR. The UK government believes that time was needed to roll out this route, and as such these students didn’t have any such expectations. 


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What Will Be The Impact of GIR On International Students?

Introducing GIR was a strategy that was aimed at increasing the total number of international students studying in the UK. While the current level of such students was 460,000 (2019-20), this move aims to increase this number to 600,000 each year by 2030.

Outside the European Union, maximum international applicants are from China and India. Since these students invest a lot of money in their overseas education, the post-study work option is crucial for them. The cost of higher studies for Indian students in the UK is up to GBP 38,000, which is equivalent to 36 lac Indian Rupees. Add to this the living costs and other miscellaneous costs, and the cost to the student’s family exceeds 50 lac rupees. Since the starting salary for Indian students in the UK is likely to be five to ten times of what they are likely to earn in India (after converting the salaries), students would love to work in the UK before heading back as the salary earned would help them cover a major part of the cost spent on education and repay their education loans faster if they had taken any.

Prior to GIC, it had always been difficult for many students to find a job within four months, since many companies in the UK would prefer native employees too. But with this welcome change in post-study stay allowance, more and more students - especially from India - would shift their attention to studying in the UK. The result would be a win-win situation for both India as well as the UK - as the former would be endowed with better career options and higher financial returns, while the latter would have more quality graduates contributing to their country’s economy and credibility.


Get Help in Studying in the UK 

GIR promises to be a boon for study abroad aspirants. Undoubtedly, the UK hosts some of the best universities in the world, but the course and university options are enormous, so much so that it can get mind-boggling at times. If you too are a study in the UK aspirant, then contact Gyandhan right away! Our study abroad counsellor will help you determine the right UK university and course option for you.

If you need help in financing education in the UK, you can simply get in touch with us. Since the launch of GIR, GyanDhan has coordinated with several lenders to offer students more options as unsecured loans. The approval rate has also increased exponentially with a reduced risk for lenders. In short, via GyanDhan, education financing for the UK has become way easier for study abroad aspirants. We will fetch you the most cost-effective education loan deals for study in the UK. Request a call back here or check your loan eligibility here for the UK education loan.

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