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International Students - Working After Your Studies

After graduation, some students like to stay in the UK and work. Unless you are an EEA or Swiss national, you’ll need to gain permission in order to do so. You have various options at this point.


Tier 1

Graduate Entrepreneur – This is a new category for graduates who have developed world class innovative or entrepreneurial skills. Your educational institution must invite you to apply for the visa and endorse you. Only 1,000 places are available each year, with a limit of 10 per institution.


Entrepreneurs – If you have access to funding of £200,000, or £50,000 from certain specified sources, and you would like to set up or take over a UK business, you can be granted permission to stay under this visa.


Exceptional Talent – If you have ‘exceptional talent in the fields of science, arts and humanities’ and a ‘Designated Competent Body’ endorses you, you can be granted a Tier 1 visa. Only 1,000 of these were granted in the first year of operation, so they are fairly rare.


Investors – If you have £1 million to invest in the UK, then you can be granted permission to stay under the Tier 1 (Investor) visa.


Please note, the Tier 1 (Post Study Work) has recently closed, but with that, the Tier 2 visa has been modified to offer a provision, specifically designed for recent graduates, to stay in the UK to work.


Tier 2 (General)

If you have been offered a job in a large company or a highly-specialised job, and your new employer is willing to sponsor you for a Tier 2 (General) visa, then you may be able to stay in the UK. They will have to advertise the job externally and be able to prove that there is no UK or EEA citizen as qualified as yourself, that is available for the job. The job must be graduate level with an appropriate salary of £20,000 or more.


If you already have a Tier 1 Post Study Work visa and have been working for at least six months, and your employer wishes to keep you on in the same job under Tier 2, they wouldn’t have to publically advertise the job and prove no UK or EEA citizen can take the job.


You will also need to meet certain maintenance and language requirements.

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