There are lots of options available to international students who want to stay and work in the UK after their studies.

If you’re considering staying in the UK after your studies, you may need to apply for a separate visa to your T4 student visa. You can check whether you need a visa at UK Visas & Immigration.

The Graduate Route

From summer 2021, international students who have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree will be able to benefit from two years’ work experience in the UK upon graduation, through the new Graduate Route. Students who complete their PhD will be able to stay for three years.

Here is everything you need to know:

  • The Graduate Route will be available to international students who have a valid Tier 4 visa at the time of application and have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance.
  • Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years if they have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree. PhD graduates will be able to stay for three years. Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.
  • The new route will be launched in the summer of 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply for the route. This includes students who have already started their courses. 
  • The Graduate Route will require a new visa application.
  • It will include the payment of a visa fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge. The exact fee will be set out in due course.
  • Those who graduate and whose Tier 4 leave expires before the route is introduced will not be eligible, however, most of these students will have had no expectation of benefitting from such a route when they applied to study in the UK.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you begin your studies through distance learning in the 2020-2021 academic year, you will still be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route, provided you arrive in the UK by 6 April 2021. View the updated guidance.

For more information, and to view frequently asked questions, visit the Home Office blog.

You can find out more information about working after your studies on the UKCISA website.

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