This page is about the options for switching from Tier 4 to a work visa. We also have separate information for those who want to work between the end of their studies and the end of their Tier 4 visa: see Work with Tier 4 leave when you are no longer studying.
Within the information about each scheme, you will find links to the relevant Immigration Rules, guidance for applicants and for Home Office caseworkers, and the appropriate application forms. The details of the schemes change frequently, and this page focusses on the schemes that a Tier 4 student can switch into within the UK. If you are an international PhD student, there is also an immigration toolkit available to read on the jobs.ac.uk website.
Under many of the work 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. All immigration applications normally include an immigration health surcharge.
If you want to discuss your eligibility for a specific scheme or if you need further advice, an International Student Adviser or a Careers Adviser at your institution may be able to advise you further, if they have expertise in immigration schemes for workers. For schemes sponsored by an employer or other body, the sponsor itself will normally be the best source of advice. 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. We have further information on seeking advice here.
The UK government has proposed a new immigration system that will operate from 1 January 2021. In December 2018 they published a white paper called The UK's future skills-based immigration system. This document explains the government's proposals for a revised immigration system after the UK leaves the European Union. Chapter 6 covers some proposes some new work schemes and some changes to existing schemes. Where the implementation of such changes would affect existing schemes, we have included them in the detail of that scheme on this page. We will continue to update this page if any further announcements are made.
- These are only the options which allow you to apply in the UK. There are also Other Options.
- Check the requirements of the specific work or job, as well as the requirements of the scheme. For example, while some schemes in theory allow you to apply before you have completed your course and obtained your qualification, the employer's job specification may require the qualification.
- To protect your immigration status, if you are applying in the UK you must make your application before your current immigration 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.