UK’s Graduate Route Visa to Continue – AEC Overseas

In a globalized world where opportunities transcend borders, the United Kingdom has long been a symbol for international students seeking quality education and promising career prospects. The UK’s Graduate Route Visa stands as a testament to its commitment to nurturing global talent and fostering international partnerships. 

Recently, the Home Secretary asked for a rapid review as part of measures to reduce legal migration to the UK. However, the good news is that The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended retaining the Graduate visa in its current form and published its findings on the route.

In this article, we focus on the significance of the Graduate Route Visa for Indian students, exploring its benefits, safety, key statistics and what these latest recommendations mean.

Peep into the Past:

In March 2024, Home Secretary James Cleverly requested the Migration Advisory Committee (the MAC) to carry out a review of the Graduate route. This PSW visa permits international students to work in any role once they have successfully finished their undergraduate or master’s studies at a UK university. Introduced in 2021, the main purpose of the route was to make the UK more attractive to International students and retain talent. However, the UK government announced that it would review the Graduate route and any potential abuse of the route, as part of its five-point agenda to reduce net migration. On 14 May, the MAC released their findings and have recommended that the route should remain intact in its current form.

What is the Graduate Route Visa?

The Graduate Route Visa, introduced in July 2021, allows international students who have completed their studies at a UK higher education institution to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK for two years (or three years for doctoral students). This post-study work visa replaced the previous Tier 4 (General) visa route, providing greater flexibility and opportunities for international graduates to kickstart their careers in the UK.

What did the MAC find?

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent body that advises the UK government on immigration issues, conducted a thorough review of the Graduate Route Visa. Their findings highlighted the positive impact of international students on the UK economy and labor market. Key highlights of their report include:

  • International students contribute significantly to the UK economy, both during their course studies and after finishing graduation. 
  • There is a huge demand for skilled workers in various sectors of the UK economy. 
  • Post-study work opportunities play an important role in attracting international talent and maintaining the UK’s competitiveness in the global market.

What did the MAC recommend?

Based on their findings, the MAC made several recommendations to further polish the Graduate Route Visa and enhance its benefits for international students. These recommendations include:

  • Extending the duration of the Graduate Route Visa beyond two years to attract more international talent. 
  • Introducing a streamlined process for transitioning from the Graduate Route Visa to a skilled work visa, reducing unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles.
  • Providing greater support and guidance to international students looking for employment opportunities in the UK.
  • Amid concerns that some international recruitment agents and sub-agents are providing misleading information about UK higher education to prospective students, the MAC recommends universities should publish data on their spend on agents and the number of students recruited through them annually. Further, it recommends that a mandatory registration system should be established for agents.

Benefits for Indian students: 

  1. a) Work in the UK: The Graduate Route Visa opens doors to a variety of career opportunities in the UK’s vibrant job market. Indian students can gain valuable work experience, enhance their skills, and build professional networks that can push their careers to new heights.
  2. b) No sponsorship required: Unlike other work visas that require sponsorship from an employer, the Graduate Route Visa allows Indian students the freedom to work for any employer, in any sector, without any need for sponsorship. This flexibility empowers students to pursue their career aspirations without any restrictions.
  3. c) Work in any sector: Whether it’s finance, technology, healthcare, or creative industries, Indian graduates can explore diverse career paths and contribute their expertise to various sectors of the UK economy. The Graduate Route Visa encourages innovation, knowledge exchange, and cross-cultural collaboration, enriching the UK’s workforce and driving economic growth.

Is the route safe?

The Graduate Route Visa offers a secure and transparent pathway for Indian students to pursue their career ambitions in the UK. With clear eligibility criteria and straightforward application procedures, students can go through the visa process with confidence. Moreover, the UK government remains committed to protect the rights of international students and ensuring a welcoming environment conductive to their academic and professional success.

Key statistics

  • In the three years since the route has been in place, the number of Graduate visas granted has increased substantially year by year, with 144,000 Graduate and dependent visas being granted in 2023.
  • Notably, Indian students constitute a significant portion, comprising approximately 40% of the total graduate route visa holders.
  • Indian students leading in the utilization of the graduate route, with 45,600 visas issued to them in 2023.
  • Gradual improvement in earnings and employment outcomes for visa holders, with nearly 50% transitioning into skilled work through the Skilled Worker route.


The UK’s Graduate Route Visa continues to serve as a gateway to a world of opportunities for Indian students, offering them the chance to realize their aspirations and contribute to the UK’s dynamic society and economy. 

By nurturing a diverse and inclusive community of students and professionals, the UK reaffirms its commitment to excellence and collaboration on the global stage. As Indian students embark on their journey to the UK, the Graduate Route Visa stands ready to unlock a future filled with promise and potential

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