Hyderabad: The UK Home secretary, Priti Patel, opened a new graduate immigration route on 1 July allowing Indian students the opportunity to stay longer in the UK after they have finished their studies.

The graduate route provides an opportunity for talented international students who were awarded their degree to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level for at least two years.

According to a press release from the British Deputy High Commission Hyderabad, "For the first time, the vast majority of applicants to the graduate route will be able to apply in a fully digital way, using the UK Immigration: ID Check smartphone app. Successful applicants will be issued an eVisa, and be able to conveniently access this status whenever needed to prove their rights in the UK."

It said this is a more convenient application process and applicants will not have to visit a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service or re-submit their biometrics. "Customers who cannot use the app can still apply online but will need to visit a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service," the statement further said.

This change stands to benefit tens of thousands of students from India. In the last year, more than 56,000 Indian nationals were granted a student visa – a 13% increase from the previous year and almost a quarter of all student visas the UK issued.

Ms. Patel said: "Under the UK government's points-based immigration system, talented students from India and across the globe now have the opportunity to kick start their careers in the UK at the highest levels of business, science, technology and the arts."

She added, "Once they've received their world-leading qualification from one of our fantastic education institutions, this new visa will give them the freedom to fulfil their aspirations and advance their careers."

Jan Thompson, the acting British High Commissioner to India, said, "The numbers show that UK universities are already a popular destination for Indian students, who contribute immensely to the unique living bridge that exists between the UK and India.

"The graduate route will further help students who wish to stay and work in the UK, strengthening this bond between our two countries even more. Cooperation in higher education is one of the crucial commitments in the UK and India's 2030 Roadmap, and this is another positive step in that direction," Thompson added.

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