UK: Work after your studies

If you are considering remaining in the UK to work after you have completed your studies, there are a number of visa options that may be available to you. Please see the table below for a summary of the main options. Further information can be found by clicking on each visa type.


Visa requirements are subject to change. Before applying for any UK visa, you must ensure you read the relevant Policy Guidance in order to understand the full details and requirements at the time of application.

Visa Type Overview Is sponsorship required?  Maximum duration Can I switch from Tier 4 inside the UK? What do I need to qualify? Can I bring dependants?
Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme For students who have nearly completed their PhD and want to remain in the UK for a further 12 months to work, look for work or set up a business Yes, from the University 12 months from your expected course completion date Yes (applicants cannot apply from outside the UK) A CAS issued by the University. Applicants must submit a visa application at the point of holding a valid Tier 4 visa and in the 60 days prior to receiving final approval for their degree Yes
Tier 2 (General) This is the main immigration route to work in the UK. The visa is linked to a specific job and employer Yes, from the Tier 2 licensed employer 5 years Yes (and there are benefits in doing so) Sponsorship is in the form of a COS from a Tier 2 licensed employer. The job needs to meet various requirements including a minimum salary Yes
Start-up visa For graduates who demonstrarte high entpreneurial potential and wish to start a business in the UK. No but there must be an endorsement from the University. 2 years Yes Endorsement by the University. Yes
Tier 5 Youth Mobility For individuals of certain nationalities including Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand aged between 18-30 Yes but only for certain countries 24 months No A certificate of sponsorship is required for nationals of Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan. Other requirements include maintenance No
UK Ancestry For individuals who are a commonwealth citizen, are planning to work and have a grandparent who was born in the UK No 5 years No Must be able to prove that one grandparent was born in the UK Yes
Tier 5 GAE For individuals wanting to come to the UK for work experience, training, research or a fellowship Yes 12-24 months depending on the type of scheme No A COS from a Tier 5 sponsor or overarching body is required Yes

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