July 2023:

If you are watching the news, you will have noted the recent announcement by Rishi Sunak with regards to visa surcharge costs across the spectrum. Likely this will be a significant increase, we estimate at leas 10-15%, but I suspect it could be a whole lot higher. This is order to fund pay for nurses and NHS workers, a significant number of whom are on graduate or other visas. This seems like a ridiculous answer to the problem, but is politically palatable.

Applying for a UK Graduate Visa can be an exciting step towards building your career in the United Kingdom. However, the costs associated with the visa process might be overwhelming for some international students, especially those with limited financial resources. In this blog post, we will break down the costs of the UK Graduate Visa and discuss strategies for potentially reducing these expenses or even getting a Graduate Visa for free.

  1. Understanding the Graduate Visa Costs in 2022

When applying for a Graduate Visa in the UK, be prepared to cover the following costs:

  • Visa application fee: £715
  • Healthcare surcharge: Typically £624 per year of your stay in the UK (e.g., £1,248 for two years or £2,496 for four years) this may increase we are awaiting confirmation from Rishi Sunak on how much this increase will be, the government have been quite vague on it.

The UK government website will provide the exact amount you need to pay when you apply for the visa.

2. Refunds for Healthcare Workers in the Public Sector

If you work in the public healthcare sector, you might be eligible for a refund on your healthcare surcharge. Although you won’t be on a Tier 2 visa yet, you can visit the following link to check your eligibility for a refund: https://www.gov.uk/apply-immigration-health-surcharge-refund/healthcare-setting

3. Securing a Graduate Visa in the UK for Free

The costs associated with the Graduate Visa can be daunting, particularly for those with limited financial resources. However, there are ways to potentially reduce or eliminate these costs:

a) Only stay in the UK if you have a job or internship lined up: If you don’t have a job or internship secured, consider returning to your home country while applying for positions in the UK. This will save you the costs of living in the UK while job hunting.

b) Ask your employer for financial support: Many employers, especially larger companies, may be willing to cover some or all of your visa costs. When discussing your visa with your employer, follow these steps. Below is some tips that worked for me when working internally at large corporate. Some companies will be more susceptible to this, and some will cover the costs. Some will simply do it on a case by case basis.

  1. Inform them that you don’t need sponsorship since you’ll be applying for a Graduate Visa.
  2. After securing the job and signing the contract, mention the costs associated with the visa application.
  3. Explain that these costs are significant for someone in your financial situation and ask if they could cover them as part of your onboarding costs or through a company policy.
  4. Be prepared to pay the costs upfront and seek reimbursement from your employer once you start working.
  5. If cash flow is an issue, consider using a credit card or a short-term interest-free financing option, such as PayPal Credit, to cover the costs and pay them off once your employer reimburses you.

Although the costs of the UK Graduate Visa can be challenging for some international students, there are ways to mitigate or eliminate these expenses. By securing a job or internship, seeking employer support, and exploring refund options, you can make the most of your Graduate Visa experience without breaking the bank.



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