You may wish to continue living and working in the UK after you complete your studies, and on this page you can find information relating to the main routes to consider. Within the information provided for each route you can find helpful guidance on elgibility for the route, how to apply, and links to further information.
Work visas after studies
Brookes Careers offers help and advice about applying for jobs in the UK and is available for you for up to three years after you graduate. If you are considering applying for jobs in the UK, we advise you seek guidance from Careers early to boost your employability help you get the right job when you graduate.
Skilled Worker Route
In order to apply under the Skilled Worker Route you need sponsorship from a licensed employer to do a specific job that meets minimum levels of skill and salary. Jobs secured need to be a least RQF level 3 or above.
To be eligible to apply, applicants must score 70 points. 50 of these points are mandatory and will be covered by the job offer (and sponsorship), meeting the RQF skill level, and English language.
Mandatory points requirement = 50 points
- Confirmation of Sponsorship for a genuine job vacancy (20 points): The job offer must be from an employer on the Register of licensed sponsors: workers
- The job must be at an appropriate skill level (RQF Level 3 and above) (20 points): You must be sponsored for a job in an eligible occupation code as listed in Immigration Rules Appendix Skilled Occupations
- English language at Level B1 and above (10 points): Successful completion of a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree taught in the UK will qualify you for this requirement.
Student visa holders can qualify as ‘new entrants’ and do not need to acquire the additional 20 points, as long as they secure a job on a salary of least £20,480 (or 70% of the going rate for the roles, whichever is higher). They must apply within 2 years of the end date of their visa and they must have successfully completed one of the following in the UK:
- Bachelor’s degree
- Master’s Degree
- PhD or other doctorate qualification
- A Postgraduate Certificate in Education
- A Professional Graduate Diploma in Education
Students can apply after they have completed their course. The UKVI will use the course end date on the CAS to determine the date of completion. PhD students can apply after studying towards their qualification for at least 24 months in the UK.
The application process
As well as satisfying the points requirement, you will also need to:
- Pay the application fee - the standard fee ranges from £610 to £1,408 depending on your circumstances and how long the sponsorship is for.
- Pay the healthcare surcharge - this is usually £624 per year.
- Satisfy the finance requirements. If are applying in the UK and you have been in the country on a Student visa for the past 12 months, you will not need to show evidence of funds. If you apply from outside the UK, to meet the financial requirement, you will need to show that you have £1,270 for a period of 28 consecutive days, and this needs to be in a bank account in your name. You cannot use your parent’s finances.
Graduate Route visa (Post-study work)
The Graduate Route allows students to stay in the UK to work after they have completed their degree.
- This is an unsponsored route, graduates do not need to have a job to apply. Successful applicants on this route are able to stay and work, or look for work in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years. (PhD students will be able to stay for three years). This route also allows you to be self-employed.
- If you have dependents with you on your Student visa, they can apply to be dependants on your Graduate Route visa. They will only be able to apply if they are with you in the UK when you make your Graduate visa application.
The application process
You can only apply for the Graduate Route in the UK. The deadline for applying is before the expiry date of your Student visa. As long as you apply by this date, your Student visa will be extended until you receive the outcome of your Graduate Route application.
You will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (£624 per year) and the visa application fee (£700).
You will not need to provide evidence that you can financially support yourself when you apply for the Graduate Route. However, you should be aware that you may not be able to find paid employment straight away, therefore you should ensure you have enough money to pay for living costs until you are employed.
Temporary Worker visa (T5)
This route has replaced the Tier 5 Temporary worker visa. This route has 5 subcategories:
The above categories allow you to work in these specific areas for a period of one or two years depending on the scheme. Visas for these categories require sponsorship from an employer who is listed in the Worker and Temporary worker register of sponsors. This register indicates the type of route the employer can sponsor, you should search for employers for the route you want to apply for.
This route is for those coming to the UK through approved schemes as a paid intern. The aim is to share knowledge, experience and best practice through work placements, whilst experiencing the wider social and cultural setting of the UK. A list of the companies who can offer Government Authorised Exchange visas can be found at Home Office list of Authorised Exchange Schemes.
Some examples of companies on the list are:
- Access Tier 5 (listed as AIESEC on the Home Office List)
- Tier 5 Intern
To be eligible to apply for the Government Authorised Exchange Temporary Worker visa, you’ll need:
- A Confirmation of Sponsorship reference number.
- Money to support yourself. You will need to have £1,270 in your bank account for a period of 28 consecutive days. The last day of this 28 day period must be no later than 31 days before you make your application. The funds must be in your name, they cannot be in your parents’ name. Alternatively your sponsor can confirm that they will financially support you during your first month in the UK.
If you have been living in the UK for 12 months with valid permission before you make your application you won’t need to show that you can support yourself.
Applying in the UK
You cannot usually switch into the Temporary worker route unless you are applying for the Government Exchange Scheme and you hold, or were last granted permission as a Student either on the Student or Tier 4 visa and meet the following requirements:
- You are, or were last sponsored by either: (i) a higher education provider with a track record of compliance; or (ii) an overseas higher education institution, to do a short-term study abroad programme in the UK.
- You have obtained a UK recognised degree during your most recent grant of leave.
- You are being sponsored under Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) either to undertake a period of postgraduate professional training or work experience which is required to obtain a professional qualification or professional registration in the same field as your UK qualification or you are being sponsored for up to 12 months to undertake an internship which directly relates to your UK qualification
- Your internship is not filling a permanent vacancy.
- Your employer does not intend to employ you in the UK once your training or work experience for which you are being sponsored has ended.
Youth Mobility Scheme visa (T5)
This route has replaced the Tier 5 Youth Mobility scheme visa.
If you are a national of one of the following countries, you may be eligible to apply for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa:
- Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Taiwan.
You cannot switch into this immigration category from within the UK. You can apply from any country where you are legally present and have been given authority to live in that country for more than six months (if you are from San Marino, you must apply from San Marino).
You must be between 18 and 30 years old to apply for this visa.
You will also need to have funds of £2,530 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days a specified in UKVI Appendix Finance.