Students from all over the world migrate to the UK for the chance to study at some of the best universities in the world. Over 600,000 international students flock to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland every year to pursue their undergraduate degrees, postgraduate degrees and PhDs. After completing their education, students often want the chance to work in the UK for a couple of years. The UK offers post-study work visas and has a point-based immigration system to streamline the visa process for international students. Applying can seem daunting at first, but we’ve broken down every step of the process so you can start your journey with ease.
What is the UK graduate route?
Before the UK’s new immigration system was introduced, it was incredibly difficult for international students to find work in the country after their courses. However, with the new visa, students can apply for a post-study work permit that allows them to stay in the country for up to 2 or 3 years after completing their studies.
This is an unsponsored visa, meaning that you do not need to have a job offer in hand to be eligible to apply. This visa cannot be extended and does not lead to permanent settlement in the UK. You do not need to show any English language proficiency, nor must you provide any proof of funds.
How does Post Study Work Visa UK work?
The UK post study work visa is a type of visa that allows international students to stay in the UK for up to 2 years after completing their degree. It was introduced in 2020, and it is aimed at attracting the brightest and the best international students to study and work in the UK.
- Duration: The UK post study Work Visa is valid for up to 2 years or up to 3 years for Ph.D. graduates.
- Work: During the validity of the UK post study work visa, you can work in any job or profession, including self-employment. You do not need a job offer to apply for a visa.
- Switching: If you are in the UK on a different visa, such as a Tier 2 Visa or a Student Visa, you can switch to the UK post study work visa if you meet the eligibility criteria.
- Settlement: The PSW visa UK does not lead to a settlement or permanent residency in the UK. However, it can provide you with valuable work experience and enhance your career prospects.
- Dependents: You can bring your dependents, such as your spouse or children, to the UK on a UK post study work visa.
What are the benefits of the UK post study work visa?
- Opportunity to gain work experience: The PSW visa UK allows international students to work in the UK after they have completed their studies. This provides them with an opportunity to gain valuable work experience in their field of study, which can be beneficial for their future career prospects.
- Time to find a suitable job: The PSW visa allows international students to stay in the UK for two years after completing their studies, giving them ample time to find a suitable job. This is particularly beneficial for students who may not have secured a job offer before completing their studies.
- Chance to earn money: The PSW visa UK allows international students to work in the UK, which gives them an opportunity to earn money to support themselves financially. This can be especially beneficial for students who may have taken out loans to finance their studies.
- Opportunity to explore other career options: The PSW visa UK allows international students to explore other career options in the UK. They may discover new fields of interest or find a job that allows them to use their existing skills in a different way.
- Pathway to settlement: The PSW visa UK is a pathway to settlement in the UK. If international students are able to find a suitable job and meet the requirements for a work visa, they may be able to apply for permanent residency in the UK.
UK Graduate Route Eligibility Requirements
Most international students will be eligible to apply. Some of the basic eligibility requirements are:
- Qualification: You must have completed a UK bachelor's degree, master's degree, or a Ph.D. from a recognised university or higher education institution.
- Study location: Your degree must have been awarded by a UK higher education institution with a track record of compliance with immigration requirements.
- Visa type: You must have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa at the time of application or have completed your course within the last two years.
- Course completion: You must have successfully completed your degree course and obtained your degree from a recognised UK university or higher education institution.
- Validity: You must apply for the UK post study work visa within two years of the date you completed your degree, or within two years of the date you were granted your Tier 4 or Student visa.
- English language proficiency: You must meet the English language requirements. You can do this by either passing an approved English language test or by having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree or higher.
- Financial requirements: You must demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds. The amount of money you need will depend on your circumstances.
- Good character: You must not have a criminal record and must not have breached UK immigration laws.
Documents required to apply for the graduate route visa
The most important documents needed for your application are:
- A valid passport
- Your most recent CAS letter (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies)
- A biometric residence permit or BRP
If you want to travel in London like a localite, you can check out our ultimate guide to UK transportation blog.
What is a BRP?
BRP is a Biometrics Residence Permit used to confirm the identity of someone residing in the UK. It is also used to authenticate your right to study and ability to use any public services or benefits. Your BRP will include the following details:
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth
- Photo of your face
- Immigration status
- Any additional benefits you have access to
How can you apply for the graduate route visa
The process has been made entirely digital and can be completed online. If your application goes smoothly and is approved, you will be issued an eVisa.
Steps to apply:
- Visit GOV.UK and click on “Start Now”
- Go through the guidelines carefully and create your account
- Verify your identity with your BRP or biometric passport
- Fill out the application form
- Upload your documents
- Pay an application fee
- Pay a healthcare surcharge
What to do after the UK Post Study Work Visa Ends?
- Switch to a different visa category: You could switch to a different visa category if you are eligible. For example, if you have a job offer from a UK employer, you could apply for a Tier 2 visa. Alternatively, if you are married to a UK citizen or have a partner who is settled in the UK, you could apply for a Spouse or Partner visa.
- Extend your current visa: If you are eligible, you may be able to extend your current visa. For example, if you are on a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you may be able to extend it if you have an offer from a licensed Tier 2 sponsor or a startup endorsed by an authorized endorsing body.
- Apply for a graduate job: If you are interested in staying in the UK, you could apply for a graduate job. If you find a job with a licensed Tier 2 sponsor, you could apply for a Tier 2 visa.
There’s everything you need to know about the graduate visa UK! We hope you’ve found this helpful and can now confidently begin your application. This visa offers up a world of possibilities for any international student currently in the UK. You can check out our blog to know more about student discounts in the UK. Grab this opportunity while you can!