Your Guide to UK Post-Graduate Work VISAs
Working in the UK After University
As an international student, you may well have plans to stay on in the UK to pursue your chosen career after you finish your studies. If that’s the case, you’ll need to find out about post-graduate work visas – what they are, who’s eligible and how to apply for one – so we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you.
Post-Graduate Work Visas
These visas are designed purely to allow international students to stay in Britain to work beyond their study period, and there are two different types:
Graduate Visa: This allows you to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the country, and is available for both Undergraduate and Master’s Degree graduates.
Graduate Route: Introduced in 2021, the Graduate Route offers international students the opportunity to work or look for work in the UK for 2 years after their degree completion.
To be eligible for either visa, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have successfully completed either an Undergraduate or Master’s Degree from a recognized UK institution
- You must have a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your sponsoring institution
- You must meet the English language proficiency requirements
- You’ll need to show evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in the UK
Going Through The Application Process
Applying for a post-graduate work visa in the UK is simple and straightforward:
- Gather the documents you’ll require, including your CAS, passport, academic transcripts, proof of English language proficiency and financial documents
- Complete the online application form on the official government website or, if you prefer, apply in person
- Pay the application fee and submit your application
- Wait for the decision from the UK immigration authorities
The processing time for applications can vary, so it’s important to make sure you apply well in advance.
Restrictions To Bear in Mind
A post-graduate work visa carries certain restrictions that you’ll need to remember.
- If you’re on the Graduate Visa, you cannot switch to another visa category
- The visa is non-extendable, which means you can’t prolong your stay under this visa category
- You can work full-time or part-time during your stay, and there are no restrictions on the type of employment
- After the 2-year visa duration has run out, you may be eligible for other work visas or routes if you meet the requirements
Tips and Advice
Here are a few guidelines to help make getting a post-graduate work visa and starting your career as simple and stress-free as possible.
Start researching and preparing your application well in advance to ensure a smooth process.
Seek professional assistance
You might consider consulting an immigration lawyer or advisor who can guide you through the application process and provide expert advice.
Build your network
Networking plays a crucial role in finding employment opportunities, so attend career fairs, join professional organizations and connect with industry experts.
Polish your skills
Enhance your skills and knowledge through additional certifications, internships or volunteer work, to help make you more attractive to potential employers
Keep up-to-date on any changes regarding post-graduate work visas, and regularly check official government websites for the latest information
What To Do Next
Securing a post-graduate work visa in the UK opens up exciting opportunities for any international student to get their career underway. If you want to know more or are thinking of applying, the team at NCUK are always on hand to help – and you can speak to them directly here.