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International Graduates Scheme goes into effect

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The United Kingdom's new International Graduates Scheme (IGS) goes into effect today, 01 May 2007. Non-European Economic Area students who apply for and receive approval may remain in the United Kingdom and work for up to one year after completing their studies.

A student accepted under IGS will have very generous opportunities with very few restrictions on work. The government is hoping to attract more students to remain in the UK after graduation and also allow them time to obtain a different visa.

The new scheme supersedes the previous Science and Engineering Students (SEGS) scheme, which only allowed students of specific disciplines related to science and engineering to remain in the UK after graduation. The IGS scheme allows students of any scheme to remain in the UK for a year, with the aim of encouraging students to take up a career in the country.

To qualify, a student must attain a bachelor's or Master's degree, or a PhD or other postgraduate certificate or diploma from a recognized higher education institution in the UK. Unlike SEGS, any degree class (grade) is acceptable. Under SEGS, an applicant had to have received at least a 2.2.

The aim of the International Graduates Scheme is to encourage foreign UK students to take up a career in the UK by providing an easy route into another immigration category, such as the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP).


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