Skip to main content

Working after your studies

Find out what work visas are available for international students after you graduate.

There are a number of different visa options for international students who want to work in the UK after completing their studies. You can find some information and links below for the different visa categories.

For a full list of UK work visas, please see the gov.uk web pages..

If you would like to know what work you can do with your Student visa after your course has finished, please see our guide on working with your Student visa.

If you are planning on working at the University of Bath, please check the Staff immigration web pages.

Graduate visa

Please visit our Graduate visa web page for full details of the Graduate visa.

Skilled Worker visa

To apply for a Skilled Worker visa you will need a job offer in an eligible occupation code listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations. The job must be working for an employer registered as a Worker sponsor. Your employer will need to sponsor your visa application and provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to apply for the Skilled Worker visa.

Your salary

The general salary threshold is set at £38,700 per year (or the 'going rate' for the role, whichever is higher). You may be able to get sponsorship for a job with a lower salary. Your salary can be £30,960 per year or higher if any of the following apply:

  • the job is in the Immigration Salary List
  • you have a doctoral qualification relevant to your job
  • you have a doctoral qualification in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) subject
  • you are under the age of 26
  • your job offer is for a postdoctoral position in science or higher education
  • you'll be working towards a recognised qualification in a UK regulated profession
  • you'll be working towards full registration or chartered status in the job you're being sponsored for
  • you're currently in the UK on a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa
  • you are switching from a Student visa (please see the section below for more information)

Please visit the HR web pages for more information on the Skilled Worker visa.

You may also be able to get sponsorship for a job with a lower salary if:

  • your most recent immigration permission was as a Student and that visa is still valid or expired less than two years ago
  • you studied a UK bachelors degree, masters degree, PhD or other doctoral qualification, a PGCE, a PGDE
  • you have completed the course as listed above, or you are applying no more than three months before your course end date
  • you are studying in the UK for a PhD and have completed at least 12 months of study towards the PhD

In this case, the salary for the job must equal or exceed both £30,960 per year and between 70% and 90% of the standard going rate for the occupation code.

Switching from a Student visa

You can apply to switch from the Student visa to the Skilled Worker visa from inside the UK as long as you meet one of the following requirements:

  • you have completed your studies for which your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) was assigned
  • you are studying a full-time course at degree level or above and your CoS start date is after your course completion date (for most Student visa holders, your course completion date will be the official course end date listed on your CAS)
  • you are studying a full-time PhD, and your CoS start date is at least 24 months after the start date of your course

If you finish your course earlier than the official end date listed on your CAS, you can request a letter through SAMIS on the web to confirm you have completed your course early. You can only request this letter once you are within two weeks of the course end date listed on your CAS.

In all cases, the earliest you can submit the Skilled Worker visa application is three months before your CoS start date.

Starting work

If you apply to switch from the Student visa to the Skilled Worker visa from inside the UK, you can normally start work as soon as you have applied. However, your employer may prefer for you to wait for the outcome of your visa application before starting work. In all cases, please check directly with your employer when they expect you to start work.

Skilled Worker visa conditions

After your Skilled Worker visa is granted, the Skilled Worker visa conditions will apply. You will be able to do:

  • the job described in your CoS, working for your Skilled Worker sponsor
  • a supplementary job for up to 20 hours per week (as long as the job is an eligible occupation code
  • voluntary work

Your Skilled Worker visa can be granted for up to five years depending on the length of your work contract. You can apply to extend your Skilled Worker visa as many times as you like as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.

High Potential Individual visa

You may be able to apply for a High Potential Individual visa if you have been awarded a qualification from an eligible university in the last five years.

The High Potential Individual visa is granted for three years for PhD or other doctoral qualifications, and two years for any other eligible qualifications. You cannot extend the High Potential Individual visa, but you may be able to switch into a different visa category e.g. Skilled Worker visa. You cannot apply for the High Potential Individual visa if you have previously been granted a Graduate visa or the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa.

To apply for this visa you will need:

  • a statement from Ecctis to confirm your qualification is valid and at the right level
  • evidence of your English language ability
  • financial evidence (you may not need to provide this if applying from inside the UK)

You can apply for this visa from overseas or in the UK (depending on your current UK immigration permission).

Innovator Founder

The Innovator Founder route is for someone looking to start a business in the UK based on their own or co-owned innovative and practical business idea with potential to grow. You will be given permission for a period up to three years. A partner and dependent children can apply on this route.

You must have the following to apply for this visa:

  • Your application must be supported by an endorsing body and have an endorsement letter
  • A genuine and original business plan that is innovative and practical with potential to grow
  • Be the founder or an essential member of the founding team
  • A key role in everyday management and development of the business
  • Proof of English Language
  • Financial evidence (you may not need to provide this if applying from inside the UK)

Business Plan

You must have a genuine and original business plan that is innovative and meets market needs. Your business plans must be realistic and achievable and there must be evidence of planning, potential for jobs and growth into international markets.

Scale-up visa

If you have a job offer for a fast-growing UK business, you may be able to apply for a Scale-up visa. You can apply to bring dependants with you with the Scale-up visa.

To apply for this visa you will need:

  • a Certificate of Sponsorship confirming you have a job offer with an approved business for at least 6 months
  • the job offer must be on the list of eligible occupations and meet the minimum salary requirement
  • financial evidence (you may not need to provide this if applying from inside the UK)
  • ATAS clearance (if this is needed for your job)

You can apply for this visa from overseas or in the UK. Your visa will initially be granted for two years and you must remain in the job for which you have been sponsored for the first six months of your Scale-up visa. You can apply to extend this visa as many times as you like by three years (as long as you meet the eligibility requirements).

Other categories

British National (Overseas)

If you’re from Hong Kong and hold a British national (overseas) passport, you and your family members can apply for a British National (Overseas) visa (also called the BNO visa). This visa allows you to live, work and study in the UK but you will not be able to access public funds. The visa is granted for either two years and six months, or five years and can be extended. You can also apply to settle in the UK after you’ve lived in the UK for five years on a BNO visa.

To be eligible to apply, your permanent home must be:

  • in Hong Kong, if you’re applying from outside the UK
  • in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, or Hong Kong, if you’re applying in the UK

Please visit the gov.uk webpages for full details of the BNO visa.

Youth Mobility

If you are between 18 and 30 years old and a national of one of the following countries, you can apply for a Youth Mobility visa:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea (certificate of sponsorship required)
  • Taiwan
  • British overseas citizen
  • British overseas territories citizen
  • British national (overseas)

You must apply from overseas. Your visa will be granted for two years. After your visa is granted, you can work full time in the UK in most jobs. You can also be self-employed and set up your own business. You cannot extend a Youth Mobility visa or switch to a different visa category in the UK.

Government Authorised Exchange

You may be able to apply for a Government Authorised Exchange visa if you want to do any of the following:

You can apply for this visa from the UK or from overseas. Your visa will be issued for up to 12 or 24 months depending on the scheme you are applying for.

Please see the information on the UKVI web pages for a full list of the documents you must provide.

Global Talent Visa

You can apply for a Global Talent visa if you work in a qualifying field and have been endorsed:

  • as a recognised leader (exceptional talent)
  • as an emerging leader (exceptional promise)
  • under the UK Research and Innovation endorsed funder option

To apply for this visa, you will first need to apply to be endorsed by the relevant body according your field. The Global Talent visa has 6 endorsing bodies:

If endorsement is granted, you can then apply for the Global Talent visa. The visa is granted for between one and five years and you can bring dependants with you to the UK.

Please see the information on the gov.uk web pages for full details about the application process.

Permanent Settlement

Permanent settlement in the UK is often referred to as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). You may be able to apply for ILR if you meet the following criteria:

  • you have worked in the UK for five years on a Skilled Worker visa and meet the minimum wage requirements
  • you have been in the UK for ten years on some types of visa (including Student visa)

Please note, time spent on the Graduate visa does not count towards the five year settlement route.

If you're considering applying for ILR now or in the future, please be aware that the Immigration Rules change frequently. You must meet all the requirements of the Immigration Rules at the time when you make your application. As we are not trained in this area of immigration, we recommend getting specialist legal advice for settlement applications.

Enquiries

If you have any questions, please contact us.


On this page