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 student visa. You can check whether you need a visa at UK Visas & Immigration.
The Graduate Route
From 1 July 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 student 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 on 1 July 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates after this date 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, which will only be possible from inside the UK.
- It will include the payment of a visa fee of £700 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year.
- Students will also need to know the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) they used for their most recent Student (or Tier 4) application in order to apply for the Graduate Route.
If you began your studies in the 2020-21 academic year, you will be able to benefit from this new route, even if you began your degree online in your home country due to Covid-19.
If you are due to complete your course in summer 2021 but have been unable to travel to the UK just yet, you will be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route, as long as you arrive in the UK before 21 June 2021 (this has been updated from the previous 6 April date).
If you started a one-year master’s course in January 2021, you will need to arrive in the UK by 27 September 2021 in order to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route.
This is part of the UK government’s concessions to students who have, or will be, applying for student visas in light of Covid-19. View the updated guidance on GOV.UK.
For more information on the Graduate Route, 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.