?> Skip to content

Give us a ring!

You can contact us on 0191 232 9547 and our reception team will direct you to the right place. If you have the extension number of the person you’d like to speak to they have recently changed and now start with 2 instead of 1. E.g. previously ext. no. 1803 is now 2803.


How can we help?

Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt

Graduate Visas

Graduate visas: Here to stay, for now

On 14th May 2024, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its Rapid Review of Graduate visas, recommending no changes to this route.

What are Graduate visas?

Graduate visas enable international students who have been studying in the UK to stay in the UK for 2 years following the successful completion of their course, or for 3 years if they have successfully completed a PhD or other doctoral qualification.

They allow the holder to continue living in the UK with an unrestricted right to work, including setting up in business. Their partner and children can apply as dependants if they are already in the UK as dependants of their Student visa.

Graduate visas are not a route to settlement. However, the holder may be able to switch to a different visa, such as the Skilled Worker visa.

Background to the MAC Rapid Review of the Graduate route

The review had been commissioned by the Home Secretary in March 2024 to give the Government a better understanding of who was using the Graduate route and why.

Concerns had been raised that Graduate visas were being abused, putting UK universities’ reputation for quality at risk.

In addition, there were concerns that the Graduate route should be attracting the ‘best and brightest’ international students to study in the UK and that those who moved on from a Student to a Graduate visa should be contributing to the economic growth of the UK.

Findings of the MAC Rapid Review

The MAC Rapid Review answered the Home Secretary’s key concerns and made recommendations for the future of the Graduate route:

Has the Graduate route been abused?

No – the MAC report found no evidence of widespread abuse of the Graduate route.

Does the Graduate route put UK universities’ reputation for quality at risk?

No – the MAC report concluded that the Graduate route is not undermining the integrity or quality of the UK higher education system but in fact helped UK universities to expand the range of courses they offer and make up for financial losses on domestic students and research. It also concluded that it allowed a diverse range of UK universities to benefit from the financial contribution that international students make.

Is the Graduate route attracting the ‘best and brightest’ international students to study in the UK?

The MAC was unable to identify a meaningful definition of ‘best and brightest’ and so could not answer this question. The Government did not provide a definition.

Do international students who go on to use the Graduate route contribute to the UK economy?

The MAC expects the Graduate route to have a net positive impact on the UK economy. It found that most Graduate visa holders are in work. It also found that approximately half of the first cohort of Graduate visa holders moved onto the Skilled Worker route.

Recommendations: To retain the Graduate route in its current form

The MAC Rapid Review recommended that the Government does not further restrict the Graduate route, until the full impact of its changes to the Student route has been seen and only once it has made changes to the current higher education funding model. It also noted that any further restriction of the Graduate route could disproportionately affect local and regional economies outside of London and the South East.

The full report and its recommendations can be read here:


Response to the MAC Review

Universities UK welcomed the MAC report and called on the Government to keep the Graduate route. Its CEO, Vivienne Stern, told the BBC that recent visa restrictions had already had a ‘significant effect’ and ‘going further would be a serious mistake’.

One day before Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP’s General Election announcement, it was reported that he had bowed to pressure and would likely keep the Graduate Route. However, no Government announcement was made:

Rishi Sunak backtracks plan to restrict graduate visas after cabinet opposition | International students | The Guardian

Looking to the future

It is not yet known what approach any change of Government in the UK might take to Graduate visas. For now, this route remains in its current form.

Advice on your visa options

Our Immigration team would be happy to advise you on your options to stay in the UK. We can help you with Student visa, Graduate visa and Skilled Worker visa applications. Please contact the Immigration team on 0191 232 9547 for advice.

Search the site

Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt