THE UK’s visa graduate scheme has hit the headlines in recent days after the Home Secretary was told he provided “incorrect” data when asking for a review of the scheme.

It comes after a review into the scheme ordered by James Cleverly found that it should remain unchanged.

The Cabinet Secretary had asked for an assessment on whether the visa route is “undermining the integrity and quality” of the higher education system.

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Here’s all you need to know.

What is the UK visa graduate scheme?

The scheme allows graduates from UK universities to stay on and work for two years, or three if they have completed a PhD.

The visa will begin from the day your application is approved and, according to the UK Government’s website, you can apply for one if all of the following are true:

  • You’re in the UK
  • Your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • You studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • Your education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office you’ve successfully completed your course

How can I apply?

For more information on applying for a graduate visa, you should head to the UK Government’s website HERE.

It also has information for anyone who wants to stay longer in the UK as it explains you are unable to extend a Graduate visa.

Why had the Home Secretary commissioned a review?

In his commissioning letter to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), Cleverly suggested that “the majority of international students switching from the graduate route into the skilled worker route go into care work”.

He wanted it to assess whether the route was supporting the UK to retain “the brightest and the best”.

The National:

The Home Secretary (above) further added: “This is clearly not what the Government intended in the 2019 manifesto when it pledged to establish the graduate route to attract the best and brightest students to study in the UK.”

However, on Tuesday, MAC chair Professor Brian Bell said the claim was “incorrect” and that only about 20% of overseas graduates went into care work.

The MAC further added that it was “extraordinary” that the Government appeared to have “very limited” plans for data collection, monitoring and evaluation when the graduate route first launched in 2021.

Has the Scottish Government proposed something different?

The Scottish Government has already urged Cleverly to consider a separate graduate visa for students at universities in Scotland.

We told how Carol Monaghan had written to Cleverly and highlighted proposals to create a new five-year “Scottish Connections visa”.

This would replace the two-year graduate visa and would allow international graduates of Scottish universities “to stay in Scotland to live and work for a further five years”.

“Ultimately, this would fit the needs of Scotland and our world-leading university sector.”