In 2019, a survey by Universities International UK showed that 78% of non EU graduates and 83% of graduates from the EU were engaged in paid work or further study. Moreover, a survey in 2019 by High Fliers Research in December expected to rise in graduate recruitment by 3.3% in 2020. But then, COVID-19 happened and companies froze their recruitment process. They were afraid of economic uncertainty and financial instability for the next few months. However, as we explained in our blog post ‘Employability in the times of COVID 19. How the pandemic will affect graduate jobs?’ graduate recruitment has slowed down but it hasn’t stopped. Companies will continue to seek out for talent, maybe at a slower pace for this year but will still recruit recent graduates.
On 11 of September 2019 the UK Home office announced the implementation of the new Graduate Immigration Route. All students who have a valid Tier 4 Visa at the time they are applying and have finished an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in summer 2021 will be eligible to benefit from two years’ work experience in the UK, upon graduation. In other words, successful applicants will be able to stay in the UK for two years after their graduation to work or look for work at any skill level. The new route will commence from summer 2021 and a new visa will be required with the equivalent sum of money to be paid.
The government hasn’t announced any updates after the lockdown about the new graduate route, which means that it is still due to launch in summer 2021. In addition to this, because a lot of universities are considering moving their lectures online, at least for the first semester, the government announced new regulations to protect international students. To be precise, if you have a Tier 4 visa that you acquired before your studies, then according to a recent publication by the UK government, time spent studying outside the UK will not count against you. This will only be valid as long as you enter the UK before 6 April 2021 and you spend your last semester in the UK with Tier 4 immigration permission or its replacement under the new system. These are exciting news for all international students who will be eligible to apply.
Regarding students from the EU, their rights remain the same until 20 December 2020. Citizens from the EU will need to apply to the EU settlement scheme by 30 June 2021. By applying to this scheme, which is free of charge, students from the EU are guaranteed their rights after Brexit.
If you have successfully secured a job opportunity you might want to know the following. Your employer must check your right to work in the UK. In respect to the government measures about social distancing, all the checks have to be carried out online. Job applicants will have to either scan their original document and send a digital copy to their employers or organise a video call where they could prove their eligibility.
In conclusion, international students who graduated this summer still have time to apply for jobs and plan their next steps within the period provided by the Home Office. The recruitment process has slowed down but it hasn’t stopped meaning that everyone who fulfils the job requirements can apply. In case you need an extra hand with the application process you can book a call with our personal career coach, Oleg Rak. Oleg himself was an international student when he first came to the UK and he is fully equipped to be your advisor for your next steps. Regarding the new Graduate Route, we are still awaiting further information from the Home Office and we will upgrade this blog when we know more.