The UK Immigration Briefing with Antonio Lam: The Graduate Visa Route

Last Updated on June 13, 2024

Insights from Antonio Lam: Envoy Global’s UK Director of Immigration 

Insights from Antonio Lam: Envoy Global’s UK Director of Immigration 

Welcome to the UK Immigration Briefing with Antonio Lam, where we dive into the latest on UK immigration policies and updates! Lam, Envoy Global’s UK director of Immigration, offers his insights on the latest updates on the graduate visa route and its significance. 

Antonio Lam is a highly respected expert in his field and has nearly two decades of experience in UK corporate immigration. As a qualified solicitor, non-practicing barrister and OISC Level 3 accredited immigration advisor, Lam has previously held roles in high-street and top-tier Legal 500 law firms. 

He is a specialist in complex investment and employment immigration under UK immigration rules and European Union Law. He uses his wealth of experience and knowledge to ensure the success of our clients’ UK immigration programs. 

The Migration Advisory Committee on the Graduate Visa Route  

The UK government announced that the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), responsible for reviewing the graduate visa route, has determined that it will remain in place in its current form. This decision follows a thorough review by the MAC, which concluded that the graduate visa route functions as intended and does not pose significant risk.  

Key observations from the MAC review include:  

  • There is no evidence of widespread abuse specifically for the Graduate route. The risks of abuse are relatively low due to the limited number of conditions the route imposes.  
  • The Graduate route does not undermine the integrity and quality of the UK higher education system.  

Historical Content of the Graduate Visa Route  

The graduate visa and its predecessor, the post-study work route (introduced in 2008 and canceled in 2012), is crucial for the UK. These visas are important in allowing individuals to transition from studying in the UK to employment without needing immediate sponsorship.  

This is significant because not all employers have a sponsor license to sponsor individuals immediately under the skilled worker visa. Without the graduate visa, graduates would have limited employment options, and employers would have a restricted talent pool.  

Insider Experience: The Graduate Visa’s Benefits   

In my experience working with clients, the Graduate Visa is an excellent gateway for graduates and employers. Graduates often secure highly skilled jobs through this visa, positions they might not have been offered otherwise. This visa route gives employers the necessary time to properly integrate graduates into their workforce before committing to full sponsorship, which comes with additional costs. 

I’ve observed that graduate visa holders often start in highly skilled roles but might not have been considered for experienced positions as they are new to the workforce. This route allows employers to develop a structured program for these graduates and ensure they are well-prepared for their roles. 

While the MAC’s recommendation to retain the Graduate Visa route is a positive outcome, I wonder if future administrations might reconsider or restrict it. It’s something to keep an eye on as policies continue to evolve.  

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