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UK immigration statement of changes issued

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The UK government has published an official statement of changes to UK immigration rules. The majority of changes have been made to the UK Work Visa and Study Visa routes and include:


  • The opening of the new graduate route on 1 July, 2021

  • The expansion of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL)

  • The streamlining of Global Talent Visa access for winners of specific awards

A declaration form for international travel amid the coronavirus pandemic has also been introduced. The statement of changes were published on 4 March, following Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak’s, Budget announcement on 3 March.


New Graduate route to open

On 1 July, applications will be taken for the new Graduate route. This new route is for international students who successfully complete a degree at a UK higher education institution. The route gives international students with a bachelor’s degree or a PhD the option to remain in the UK for a further two or three years.

Bachelor’s degree holders can stay in Britain for a further two years, while PhD degree holders can remain for three. During this time, they will be allowed to look for a job at any skill level.

Applications for the Graduate route must be made within the UK while a student still has a valid Student or Tier 4 Visa. Unfortunately, international students with a Tier 4 or Student Visa that expires before the launch of the Graduate route will not be eligible to apply.

The route will also be excluded from counting towards any future application made for UK indefinite leave to remain. However, it’s understood that Graduate route visa holders will be able to switch to the Skilled Worker Visa route from within the UK under the lower salary requirement available to ‘new entrants.’

This is conditional on applying within two years of holding student status. Meanwhile, dependent family members of international students can also apply for a UK Visa, provided that they are in the UK and were last granted a visa as a dependent family member of the main applicant.

However, ‘new dependant’ applications are prohibited, unless it is a child that is born during the course of a Student or Graduate Visa.


Shortage Occupation List for skilled workers expanded

Following recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee, the UK government will expand the Shortage Occupation List on 1 April, 2021 to include:

  • Healthcare professionals

  • Nursing auxiliaries and assistants

  • Pharmacists

  • Senior care workers


Global Talent Visa changes

From 1 April, the UK Global Talent Visa route will be streamlined and will enable applicants to bypass the endorsement requirement. Instead, applicants will qualify for the visa if they have a received a prestigious prize. A list of eligible prizes will be outlined in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes.

The Global Talent Visa is exclusive to people classified as talented or showing promise in the fields of science, digital technology, the arts and culture and want to work in the UK.


Declaration form for international travel (COVID-19)

The government introduced a declaration form for international travel on 5 March for people looking to travel abroad from England for a legally valid reason. Anyone travelling outside the UK must complete the form stating reasons for travelling prior to departing. Valid legal reasons for travel include:

  • Education 

  • Medical or compassionate reasons

  • Volunteering

  • Weddings, funerals and related events

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