When you are planning to go study abroad one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself is ‘what next?’ Philosophically speaking, learning for learning’s sake is a great idea but it does tend to clash forcefully with the realities of future and finance. Especially when you are investing a large sum for tuition and life abroad, you will need to work out your return on investments. Whether it is an education loan or your savings, working abroad gives you a better chance at reclaiming your investment.
And it is not all about the money too! Continuing to work abroad after your studies allows you to experience diversity and be a part of the global workforce. It is at this crucial juncture that UK has relaxed regulations that opens up many more opportunities to you.
The Graduate Immigration Route
Typically, a student over 16 years of age enters the UK to study on a Tier 4 visa. This option is your stand boilerplate arrangement that did not allow international students to extend their stay in the UK in search for a job. This has been a huge damper on those wanting to study there.
The good news, however, is that the tide is turning.
On March 4 2021, the government of UK announced that a Graduate Route will be open for applicants from 1 July 2021. This means that students with valid Tier 4 visas, who are completing their Bachelors or Masters degrees can continue to work/ look for work in the UK for a period of two years. For a PhD holder, a three year period is allowed.
With a moderate visa fee and a health surcharge, you can buy yourself another two years, work in the UK, earn in pounds and take your time to decide whether you would like to continue or return home. Let’s be clear here. This route does not give you permanence. It is, however, an ideal sampler wherein you can experience UK’s job market, be a part of the productive workforce and then choose your next steps. If you see your future in the UK, you can then (at the end of the two/three year period), apply through any of the more permanent work visas such as Skilled Worker, Global Talent or the Start-Up routes.
From an individual applicant’s standpoint, the Graduate Route is definitely a major advantage. Let us break down the legalese and see why.
- At the outset, it gives international students who have studied in the UK a chance to experience the UK work life for two years.
- You can literally sample life there and then decide your next steps.
- It is not extendable.
- It does not take dependents into account.
- Sponsorships and financial requirements do not factor into eligibility criteria.
- It gives you the flexibility to switch jobs and shape your careers without restrictions.
- Those whose Tier-4 visas expire before July 2021 will not be eligible. However, they can go through direct work visa routes.
- The panic and confusion caused by the pandemic is also taken into account. If you have begun your studies in autumn 2020 and have been taking online classes, you will be applicable for the Graduate route provided you can enter the UK before 21 June 2021.
Another consequence of Brexit is that UK is now out of the Erasmus circle. In simple terms, Erasmus is a highly renowned student exchange program to which anyone with a Bachelor’s degree can apply. It happens between the registered universities within the EU and its partner universities across the globe.
To replace Erasmus, the Department of Education, UK has announced the Turing Scheme with a starting budget of 110 million pounds. Named after the eminent mathematician Alan Turing, this scheme will open up more diverse international experiences if the university you are applying to is part of the program. Any student studying in the UK can be benefited by this program from September 2021.
Factoring in these developments, the UK has surged ahead as a top contender when researching global ed opportunities. You will definitely not regret throwing this destination into your mix!