If you are coming to the end of your studies in the UK, you might be considering the possibility of staying on in the UK to work. This section of the website explains some of the schemes that are likely to be of particular relevance to students at the end of their studies.
Contrary to some reports, the latest changes to the Immigration Rules announced on 13 July 2015 did not prevent all international students from applying in the UK to stay under a work category.
If you want to apply in the UK under Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur), Tier 2 (General), Tier 5 (Temporary Worker), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) or Tier 1 (Investor) on or after 12 November 2015, you must have or have last been sponsored by a UK recognised body or by an institution in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution (HEI), or by an overseas HEI at which you were studying a short-term study abroad programme. For Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Investor) applications you can also be or have last been sponsored by an embedded college offering pathway courses or if you have Tier 4 (Child) Student leave. Check with your sponsor if it falls within one of these groups but it includes universities. If you meet all other relevant requirements, explained in this area of the website, you will continue to be able to make your application in the UK. If you have studied at a different type of institution, you can make your application but it will need to be an entry clearance application made outside the UK.
Your application will in most cases include an immigration health surcharge. See our detailed information about this surcharge and whether you will have to pay it. We also provide information about how to deal with some current problems with the surcharge calculator, particularly if you are applying for the doctorate extension scheme.
The details of the schemes change frequently, and this section does not provide a list of all schemes. For full details of all the options that could be available to you, see the Home Office website.
Within each category in this area of the website, you will also find links to the relevant Immigration Rules, guidance for applicants and Home Office caseworkers and the appropriate application forms.
If you are thinking about making an application under any of these schemes, and you want advice about the application, make an appointment with either an International Student Adviser or a Careers Adviser if they can offer such help. Some law centres, and other advice centres, have immigration specialists who will provide some basic advice free of charge. Some private solicitors also specialise in immigration law, although they will charge you a fee for their advice.
Under many of the schemes, your spouse or civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner and children can apply to stay in the UK with you, or join you here.
- For some of the schemes, you might have to return to your home country to apply from there. This is because most of the schemes have strict rules about who is allowed to 'switch' from Tier 4 or from another immigration category into the scheme
- For many of the schemes, you must have successfully completed your course before you can apply to 'switch' into the scheme.
- If you want to stay in the UK under one of these schemes, you must make your application before your current permission to be here as a student expires.
- If you have been sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency for your studies, most of the schemes require that you obtain their written consent before you apply.