Working after studies

Last modified: 31 January 2024

The information we provide is focused on Student visa holders in the UK, and what rights they hold. There are a variety of immigration options available to work in the UK. Where we discuss a particular route, we provide you with helpful guidance and links to the appropriate application forms. 

For schemes sponsored by an employer or endorsed by your university or another body, the sponsor or endorsing body itself is normally 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.

Finding employment in the UK

Last modified: 23 October 2023

What is it like to find employment in the UK after graduation? 

International graduates from across the UK have shared their experiences of seeking employment in the UK after graduation in short case studies. 

They've shared their experience of:

  • Applying for the Graduate route and Skilled Worker route visa.
  • Getting support from their universities.
  • Knowledge and attitudes of the Graduate route from UK employers.
  • Useful tips and advice for anyone looking to apply to the Graduate route after graduation.

 

Read their stories

When can I work after I complete my studies?

Last modified: 20 December 2023

Most students have immigration permission that extends beyond the end of your studies. You can work full time during this period after you have completed your course. The student work restrictions continue to apply, unless you make a work application.

You can normally work full-time when:

  • your course is complete
  • the course end date on your CAS has passed
  • you are no longer in term-time

You should not start a permanent full-time post (this means a job without an end date) on your Student visa. The only exceptions are if you have made a valid Skilled Worker or Graduate route application (our Graduate route and Skilled Worker visa pages give information about when you can start working if you are moving to one of those immigration routes).

You can start a part-time post that is permanent or temporary, or a temporary full-time post.

Early course completion

Employers and requests for evidence

  • Exceptional talent:  those who are internationally recognised or likely to become world leaders in arts and culture, humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and medical science research, engineering or digital technology. Applicants must be endorsed by a designated body. Research Councils UK can work with the designated bodies to help you apply under this scheme if you are receiving a relevant Research Council fellowship.

Immigration options from within the UK

Last modified: 29 January 2024

All the following immigration routes can be switched to from a Student visa in the UK. Not all of these routes will be available to all students, so it is important to research the requirements of each route before trying to make an application.

Graduate route

Skilled Worker visa

Global Talent 

Innovator Founder

High Potential Individual 

Scale-up Worker 

Global Business Mobility routes

Temporary Worker - government authorised exchange

British National (Overseas) visa

  • Exceptional talent:  those who are internationally recognised or likely to become world leaders in arts and culture, humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and medical science research, engineering or digital technology. Applicants must be endorsed by a designated body. Research Councils UK can work with the designated bodies to help you apply under this scheme if you are receiving a relevant Research Council fellowship.

Immigration options from overseas

Last modified: 31 January 2024

All the following immigration routes must normally be applied for from outside the UK. You should apply in a country in which you are living. Some of these routes are temporary and cannot be extended, so it important to check each route carefully to see which would be best for your situation.

Youth Mobility Scheme 

India Young Professionals Scheme

Temporary Worker - other routes

UK ancestry

  • Exceptional talent:  those who are internationally recognised or likely to become world leaders in arts and culture, humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and medical science research, engineering or digital technology. Applicants must be endorsed by a designated body. Research Councils UK can work with the designated bodies to help you apply under this scheme if you are receiving a relevant Research Council fellowship.

Information for specific professions

Last modified: 24 October 2023

Some professions in the UK have certain immigration requirements attached to them. If you are thinking about working in any of the professions listed, take a look at our guidance to learn about any specifics.

Sabbatical officers

Teachers

Lawyers

Architects

Doctors & dentists

Optometrists

Pharmacists

Closed routes

Last modified: 24 October 2023

The routes listed below have now closed to new applicants. The information provided is for individuals that still hold valid leave under these routes. 

Start-up (closed 13 July 2023)

Doctorate Extension Scheme (closed 1 July 2021)

Resources

Last modified: 05 January 2024

UKCISA are not experts on all immigration routes, and do not provide advice on individual circumstances when applying for one of these routes. It is important that you speak to any prospective sponsor (where applicable) or an OISC registered immigration adviser about any concerns, questions, or issues you may have in respect of these routes and their immigration applications. 

We have collated some resources that will hopefully give you further guidance to help you with these discussions.

 

UKCISA - International Student Employability Group

UKCISA chairs this group of sector bodies to conduct research into international student employability, engage with government and employers, and support education providers with international students and work. 

 

Study UK - Preparing for work (MOOC)

The British Council have teamed up with Future Learn to provide this helpful MOOC on starting preparation for work in the UK.

 


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