Post Study Options for International Students

July 30

Post-Study Options for International Students


OTB Legal

Graduation Season is upon us, and many international students will be wondering what their Post-Study options for remaining in the UK are? 

There are more options than you might think…

Graduate Visa

This is an excellent post study option for international student applicants. This visa is available to all students on a Tier 4 or student visa who successfully completing a degree or other qualifying qualification at a UK. Your university will be able to tell you if you qualify for this visa. You must apply from inside the UK before your student visa expires.

A Graduate visa will be granted for 2-3 years. Only applicants with a PhD or doctorate qualification will be granted a 3 year visa.

This route is attractive if you wish to gain work experience, as you are able to look for and begin working without needing a sponsor. However, it does not lead to settlement.

Skilled Worker Visa

If you secure employment in the UK with a licenced sponsor then you may be able to apply for a Skilled Worker visa. In order to work in the UK, you must find a job with an employer who is on the list of registered sponsors.

Only registered sponsors can employ skilled workers, and they have to issue you with a certificate of sponsorship. You must meet the required skill level for the post, and be paid the appropriate salary. You will need to show that you have the appropriate English language skills, and have sufficient maintenance funds to cover your first month’s employment. We can assist you with this process. However, we cannot assist you to find a sponsor.

This route leads to settlement after 5 years.

Start-Up Visa

This scheme was introduced to replace the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Scheme and is aimed at motivated and entrepreneurial students who wish to set up in business in the UK. In order to apply for further leave to remain in this category, you must be endorsed by a Home Office approved endorsing body and many universities are approved to endorse Start-Ups. You can find the list of endorsing bodies for Start-Up visas here.

There are, however, caps on the amount endorsement bodies can assign in one year. The first step on your Start-Up application is to draft your business plan. It is this that your endorsing body will need to scrutinise prior to providing endorsement. You can switch into this category from Tier 4 and the now closed category of Graduate Entrepreneur. You are not required to show investment funding for these applications.

Innovator Visa

This is another category that has been introduced to replace the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur). You must have a minimum of £50,000 at your disposal to invest in your business, and endorsement from a Home Office approved endorsing body.

As the with Start-Up visa, your business plan is the key document for obtaining an endorsement. If you are currently in the UK on the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme, you can apply to switch into this category when your leave is due to expire. We can assist with the Innovator application process, and you may find our free downloadable guide of assistance whilst you are in the initial stage of development for your business.

Youth Mobility Scheme

This category is for specific nationals. If you are from Australia, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, or a British Overseas Citizen, you can apply to work in the UK for a maximum of two years.

You must be aged between 18 and 30, and have sufficient maintenance funds in your bank account. The amounts are subject to change so you will need to check the requirements on applying.

One disadvantage of this scheme is that you cannot switch into this category from your student visa, and will have to return home to apply for entry clearance. There are also different requirements, depending on your country of nationality, and there are limited allocations for certain nationalities.

This route does not lead to settlement.

Temporary Worker

If you intend to work in the creative or sporting sector, for a charity, as a religious worker, government authorised exchange or international arrangement, you can apply to come and work in the UK for a period of one or two years.

You will require sponsorship from a UK government licenced sponsor (similar to Tier 2 employment), and it is usual for you to apply for entry clearance from your home country. There are only very limited circumstances in which you can switch from Tier 4 into Tier 5 (Temporary Worker).

This route does not lead to settlement.

Global Talent

If you are internationally recognised or likely to become internationally recognised as a leader in the field of arts, sciences, engineering, medical research, and digital technology, you may be able to switch into this category as a post study option as an international student.

You will need to be endorsed by an endorsing body. You do not need to show English Language, maintenance funds and you can work in any job. This is an extremely flexible route but you do have to be endorsed by a specified body.

Typically, new graduates will not have gained enough experience to qualify for endorsement. However, for those completing a PhD who have significant prior industry experience, it might be a possibility.

This route leads to settlement in 3-5 years.

OTB Legals Business Immigration Team sat at a desk smiling

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