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Only 3% of UK employers are aware of the Graduate Visa Route and this is bad news for Nigerian students in the UK

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Although the UK’s Graduate Visa Route could be the solution to the skills shortages facing the country, a new policy note by Education Policy Institute (HEPI) shows that many UK employers are unaware of the post-study working rights of international students.

This is bad news for thousands of Nigerian graduates in the UK who studied in the country with hopes of getting a post-study visa as a means to eventually stay back in the country as permanent residents.

About the Graduate Visa Route: Introduced in 2021, the Graduate Visa Route enables international students to work in the UK for two years (or three years for doctorate students).

The visa route has no wage or employment restrictions and reduces hiring bureaucracy for employers. Unfortunately, the HEPI policy note cited above said it has only been consciously used by a very small number (3%) of UK employers.

Benefits of the Graduate route: Linda Cowan, Managing Director of Kaplan International Pathways, said the Graduate Route is unlike other employment-related visa schemes because it is free to employers, involves no bureaucracy and makes it possible to evaluate an international graduate for two or three years before making a longer commitment to hiring them permanently.

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What you should know: A significant portion of UK employers avoid hiring people from abroad due to the hassle, cost, and time involved. But many of them have not heard of the route that makes it so easy for them to hire foreign graduate students.

Alex Hall-Chen, Principal Policy Advisor for Sustainability, Skills, and Employment at the Institute of Directors (IoD), said:

In addition, he indicated that it is right that those in power want to ensure the visa system is trusted and robust. However, any attempt to tighten the current working rights of former international students will hamper economic growth.

What it means for Nigerians: The HEPI research indicates that a good number of Nigerians who graduated from UK universities and have earned a Graduate Visa automatically, may be struggling to secure proper jobs.


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