Most students have immigration permission that extends beyond the end of their studies. You can work full time for this extra period once you have completed your course, which is confirmed in the Home Office's publication An employer's guide to right to work checks.
If you finish your course early, your Tier 4 sponsor will report this to the Home Office. If you have more than 60 days' immigration permission (leave) when your early completion is reported, the Home Office will contact you to let you know that your leave will be cut short (curtailed). Leave is usually curtailed to the new end date plus the additional period you were originally granted, for example one month, two or four months after the new end date, described as the 'wrap up period' in the Home Office's enforcement instructions and guidance. You can work full time between the new end date of your course and the new expiry date of your immigration permission. Employers need to see confirmation from your university or college that you have now completed your course.
If you leave your course before completion for any reason, including revocation of your Tier 4 sponsor's licence, see our information about Leaving or interrupting your studies and how it affects your right to work.
Although your student work conditions allow you to work full time after your course has ended, some Home Office staff do not always accept this. Be careful about leaving the UK during this period if you want to come back with your student immigration permission. A border force officer can decide that you no longer meet the requirements of the student Immigration Rules and cancel your permission. This is particularly important for you if you want to stay in the UK as a student or if you want to make an application in a work category of the Immigration Rules. It is safer if you either make your next immigration application:
- in the UK before you leave, or
- while you are outside the UK, in the country where you usually live if you need to make a work application.
If at the end of your course you apply to stay in the UK under a work route, for example Tier 2, you can work full time until your work application is decided.
Normally, you must not take work that is in breach of your student conditions. However, if you have Tier 4 leave, and you have completed a course of degree-level study at a recognised body or institution in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution, your Tier 4 study condition allows you to start your Tier 2 job after you have applied for Tier 2 leave and before the Home Office makes a decision on that application, even if the job is a permanent vacancy.
Similarly, if you have applied under Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), you can start your business before you receive a decision from the Home Office on your application.
If you have applied for further Tier 4 leave under the doctorate extension scheme, you can undertake a permanent full-time job, be self-employed or work as an entertainer before you receive a decision on your application as long as your university or college has confirmed to you that you have completed and passed your doctorate.